A serious discussion is necessary

By From page A10 | September 06, 2013

There are legitimate questions about the effectiveness and advisability of embracing the Common Core standards, but you wouldn’t know it by reading Daniel Ruth’s column “Common Core vs. hysterical fringe.” The column no doubt resonates in an echo chamber populated by those already sold on Common Core, but did nothing to convince those who are skeptical.

Instead of addressing questions about the lack of a link between national test scores and economic prosperity, he instead engages in irrelevant discussion of “Hangover” movies and celebrities. Rather than broach discussion about the advisability of engaging in a massive social and educational experiment using unproven methods, he dismisses those with questions as having paranoid delusions of conspiracy. Instead of answering questions about whether the experts who drafted these standards can back up the vague claims of preparing kids to be “college-ready,” we get a simple appeal to authority with the invocation of Jeb Bush.

Is it wise to try to teach all kids with a single standard? Do these standards emphasize certain subjects to the detriment of others? Is the purpose of education really just to prepare kids for college and career? Will emulating the practices of others who score high on tests bring about prosperity, or is it nothing more than a cargo cult of education? These all seem like legitimate questions.

Let’s indeed have a serious discussion of the merits of and problems with Common Core — unfortunately, Ruth’s column contributed nothing.

Josh Diedesch

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