• U.S.

Core Rules Are an Apple Of Discord

2 minute read
Kayla Webley

Should every eighth-grader know how to apply the Pythagorean theorem? Should fifth-graders be multimedia-savvy? Should third-graders be able to write opinion pieces? Forty-five states thought so when their officials approved a uniform set of learning benchmarks, known as the Common Core State Standards, in recent years. But now many states are second-guessing that decision thanks to a backlash by conservatives who say the guidelines represent a federal takeover of education.

The standards were designed to help ensure consistency across the U.S. in math and English, so that students from Seattle to Sarasota are “college and career ready” when they graduate from high school. The guidelines stipulate what students should learn and when; how students should be taught is left to teachers.

Though the effort to develop the guidelines was led by state officials and supported by governors of both parties before Barack Obama took office, some Tea Party–affiliated groups have dubbed the standards “Obamacore”–and their lobbying is having an effect. Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a Republican, signed legislation in May to “pause” the state’s adoption of Common Core. Pennsylvania’s Republican governor ordered a similar delay a week later. In at least 10 other states, GOP organizers are angling to delay, defund or chuck the standards entirely.

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