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What began as an attempt to standardize educational metrics has turned into a battle over parental and states’ rights; it has even prompted some parents to remove their children from public school. When the Common Core was introduced as a national standard for English and mathematics classes, it was adopted by 45 of 50 states. To encourage compliance, the federal government offered competitive grant money to states that signed up. Now, some are calling that strategy coercive. The standards themselves, however, leave room for schools to make decisions of their own. In mathematics for example,
the Common Core standards set a baseline of eight principles to be taught, such as “reason abstractly and quantitatively” and “use appropriate tools strategically”, and then mandate a set of topic areas to be covered at certain ages – algebra, functions, geometry and statistics in high school, for example. They leave states to decide everything else, down to whether the topic areas are covered sequentially, year by year, or all at once in parallel.
At Big Think’s Global Education & Skills Forum, we addressed the growing gap between what is being taught in schools and the kinds of knowledge demanded by the modern economy:
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The homeschool movement, centered around the Home School Legal Defense Association, has opposed the Common Core. The HSLDA has spent $320,000 over the last four election cycles to lobby lawmakers and its sub-organization, called Generation Joshua, funds volunteers to campaign for favored political candidates. To be sure, that’s not uncommon behavior for any organization playing by the accepted practices of American politics. What changes would have to occur to your local school before you decided to teach your children at home?
Read more at the Guardian
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