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A better understanding of Common Core

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The National Review posted an article on April 8 on why there is a backlash against Common Core. It seems that even those who initially supported the proposition are now fighting against it. In reading about the Common Core controversy, I am now looking to be enlightened by readers more educated on the topic thus far.

According to this Vimeo video, Common Core was created to offset large educational inefficiencies between each state. It was also created as an indicator for how our students compare to other students internationally. Using Common Core standards as a benchmark, US schools would ideally be able to bring their students up to both national and international par — providing each student a more even level playing field when applying to colleges.

As a person who moved back and forth from a low-scoring education state to a state that ranks much higher in proficiency scores, the idea of standardized education benchmarks is somewhat appealing. But I’ve personally experienced just how far apart the quality of education varies from state to state. These “averages” can be dragged down quite a bit.

The question arises, If the intent is to give every student a more equal opportunity to apply to the same colleges, what kind of averages were aggregated to make the Common Core? Was it the average mean, median, mode of school proficiency tests? Or were they measuring the knowledge level of where students needed to be by the time college started and then scaling back for each grade level?

According to a Fox News report published on Monday, one common complaint is that the tests are actually “dumbing down” good education in order to meet Common Core standards, essentially defeating the purpose. Is Common Core really a mandated curriculum?

In the Fox News article, you see several opposing points of contention, all valid. One side says how important education level weighs on a well-being of a country; adding that the Common core helps us get back to competitive standards as the US was lagging behind. The other side says, "Common Core settles for mediocrity and status quo," adding that the Common Core is not even resolving the concerns for American students competitiveness.

Which raises a clarification question, was the overall goal of Common Core to standardize American education? Or was it to make American students more competitive to their international counterparts? It seems the intention was to succeed at both?

The backlash seems to be on the execution of Common Core itself. If Common Core is indeed “dumbing down” students education, than it doesn’t really sound like there’s a lot to figure out.

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