Education
June 19, 2014
Will new approaches improve education?

Now that more than 40 states have committed to implementing new national learning goals for math and English, opposition to this initiative to improve public-school achievement has grown louder. Although the learning standards were developed under state rather than federal auspices, many conservatives view them as an unacceptable federal intrusion into the right of local communities to shape education for their own children. Opposition also has grown among teachers and education scholars, who argue that the initiative’s reliance on standardized testing to drive school improvement is worse than useless, since low-achieving schools and disadvantaged students often lack the resources to succeed. As lawmakers determine how best to allocate scarce education resources, debate continues over whether to expand preschool education, how to rein in college costs and whether increased support for charter schools and private-school tuition are the most effective use of tax dollars.

Colorado mother Anita Stapleton protests the Common Core
            education standards, adopted by most states including Colorado, which are stirring new
            opposition by those who claim the federal government is trying to usurp local control of
            school curriculums. (Getty Images/The Denver Post/Cyrus McCrimmon)   Colorado mother Anita Stapleton protests the Common Core education standards, adopted by most states including Colorado, which are stirring new opposition by those who claim the federal government is trying to usurp local control of school curriculums. (Getty Images/The Denver Post/Cyrus McCrimmon)

In March 2014, Indiana became the first state to withdraw an earlier commitment to implement the Common Core learning standards developed over the past decade, mainly under the auspices of the National Governors Association.1

The standards set math and English-language learning goals for K-12 students. Chiefly because of objections from conservatives, Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina have now rescinded the states’ commitment to adopt the standards, leaving 41 states still on track to adopt them.2 (Both bodies of the North Carolina legislature have also voted to opt out of the standards, but the two bills must still be reconciled. It’s likely that a final measure will gain the governor’s signature.3)

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