The Common Core State Standards are an effort to provide teachers and parents with a common understanding of what students are expected to learn regardless of where they live.
The standards, which are in the process of being implemented by 46 states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, have been divided into two categories:
- College and career readiness standards, which address what students are expected to learn when they have graduated from high school; and
- K-12 standards, which address expectations for elementary through high school.
The Common Standards, adopted by the overwhelming majority of states and supported by the Obama administration, have worried liberals who question their quality and conservatives who fear they erode states’ traditional responsibility for education.
At the same time, budget pressure could reduce federal support for education, which would add to the state and local responsibility.
As these trends collide, we should all take a step back and ask: Should education standards and funding vary by state? If per-pupil spending is $13,384 in Philadelphia and $26,571 in its suburbs, how can one set of teaching standards make a difference?
Yes, we should have a national discussion about what we feel is essential for all students to know. But, more important, we should have a national commitment to ensuring that every school has the human and capital resources to ensure that every child can succeed.
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