Quarrel over Common Core: A Pennsylvania Primer

Sep 22, 2014 by

It’s almost impossible to find common ground on Common Core.

Depending on who’s talking, Common Core is a set of national educational standards that will ensure American students can better compete in a global marketplace when they graduate—whether they’re bound for college or immediately entering the workforce.

Or Common Core is an insidious federal government takeover of local education.

At a July meeting in Quakertown, one objector called common core “socialism.” Another declared: “They’re turning us into a Third World nation.”

There’s not even agreement about whether a Common Core initiative exists in Pennsylvania.

State officials insist Common Core standards were repealed back in March.

But opponents insist Common Core remains an active threat to the state’s educational system, simply operating under a different name.

Pennsylvania did adopt Common Core educational standards in 2010. But on March 1, the state’s board of education repealed Pennsylvania’s Common Core standards, replacing them with Pennsylvania core standards.

Beginning this school year, all 500 public school districts in Pennsylvania must follow those new state standards, said Timothy Eller, press secretary in the state Department of Education.

“Standards are statements of what students are expected to know and be able to do at specific grade levels,” explained Eller. “Standards focus on the essential concepts, knowledge and skills necessary for students to succeed.”

The core of the debate is not whether the standards serve to foster educational success for Pennsylvania’s students, but whether adoption of the standards was a step toward federal government control over education. Although Common Core standards were not developed at the behest of the federal government, it did offer millions of dollars in grant money to encourage states to adopt them – and most states did.

Critics also maintain the Pennsylvania standards still are too similar to the Common Core standards they supposedly replaced.

via Quarrel over Common Core: A Pennsylvania Primer | Home – Home.

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