Are you familiar with Common Core?
It's a concept to standardize public education and also to track student progress to see how they and their schools are doing.
To some folks, it sounds like a good idea.
To others, it's an incursion on local control of school systems and an invasion of privacy. They also don't like the idea that specific info about specific students can be kept and accessed for years after that student has gotten out of school.
Common Core was approved by West Virginia and many other states.
Now, some states are trying to repeal it.
It's too complex to try to explain what Common Core is in a single editorial.
But if you're interested in the future of public education in the U.S., you should look into it.
Certainly, it would be better if local folks could control their own school curriculum, to make sure it reflects local values and local concerns.
But I can also think of two examples where total, local control is not good enough.
One…It took the federal government to integrate public schools in this country. If it had been left totally up to local school officials in some communities, we would still have racially segregated schools in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
And second…if you have school systems that are not doing a good job of educating students, on par with the rest of the country or the rest of the world, what should happen?
The schools here in the Mid-Ohio Valley do a great job, but overall, West Virginia schools are NOT doing a good job.
Might something like Common Core force those schools that are NOT doing a good job, to work harder?
"No Child Left Behind" tried to do that. But it was roundly criticized.
Certainly the problem with education is NOT just with the schools. There are un-involved parents, bad neighborhoods, a whole range of other factors.
But if we don't solve the problem of lagging education, we'll all suffer.
I'm not necessarily a supporter of Common Core…but I also know that something has to be done.
We certainly can't keep doing what we're doing with the same below-average results.