The browser or device you are using is out of date. It has known security flaws and a limited feature set. You will not see all the features of some websites. Please update your browser. A list of the most popular browsers can be found below.
Once the United States embraced standardized testing, a straightforward question arose: How can you compare a fourth grader in Chula Vista, California, with one in Orono, Maine, if they are taught different things?
Common Core started with a simple proposition: Uniform standards would make assessments of progress more valuable. But we ended up with a nasty political battle and growing disarray in the shared curriculum standard.
The idea was to nationalize standards for what children from kindergarten to high school would be taught in English literacy, the arts, math and science. The hope was that Common Core would better prepare students for higher education.
Critical thinking, problem solving and analytical skills development are at the heart of Common Core. It includes a national testing program to assess student skills, instead of the current system in which states can choose from a wide variety of standardized tests.
While federally approved, Common Core is not mandated. Resistance to the program has come from seemingly every quarter.
Common Core is controversial; some parents and educators think it is a one-size-fits-all approach to learning. In California this week, parents and students against Common Core held a protest rally outside the state capitol.
Also this week in Indiana, the state's board of education overwhelmingly decided to replace the Common Core requirements. This makes Indiana the first state to walk away from Common Core after originally adopting it.
More states may follow; when asked about Indiana's departure from the program, Secretary of State Arne Duncan said states can make their own decisions.
They absolutely have the right to do this. This is a state-led effort; it always has been, always will be. And whatever Indiana decides, we want to work with them to make sure that students have a chance to be successful.
Secretary of education
Common Core has many supporters as well: former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Bill Gates are all early backers of the program. The Gates Foundation has contributed more than $170 million to help in the development and implementation of Common Core.
But even supporters see some flaws. Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan said, “I think the Common Core is a good thing, and I think we need to stand up for it and make that clear. I think what we need to do are help people that are struggling with the curriculum requirements."
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, who supports the program, said, "You think the Obamacare implementation is bad? The implementation of the Common Core is far worse.”
The resistance to Common Core is intensifying, coming from people such as Glenn Beck — who said on his radio talk show, "What Common Core does is strip the individual of everything that makes them unique. That is authoritarianism" — and from politicians on the left and right. All may agree that standards in the American public education system are lacking, but they do not accept Common Core as the answer.