Ken Jones: Common fears

May 3, 2014 

It has been fascinating to watch the sudden about-face on the common core curriculum. One wonders what changed so many minds so quickly.

If it became possible to compare student achievement across the entire nation, states that leave large numbers of students behind might be forced to address their educational shortcomings. That would likely be embarrassing and could potentially force those states to substantially increase education budgets.

It might even expose the fact that, generally, charter schools and non-elite private schools don’t perform all that much better than public schools. (The respected Stanford University Center for Research on Education has recently reported that only about one-third of charters outperform traditional public schools and that is chiefly a result of those charters having a longer school day or a longer school year.)

If all students were to be held to rigorous national standards, it would be much harder for us to let our ideological beliefs trump cold, hard data. Is that what common core opponents are really afraid of?

Ken Jones

Chapel Hill

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