Starting next school year, public schools in Pennsylvania and in much of the country will use a more rigorous curriculum aimed at unifying educational standards.
The Common Core Standards seek to make U.S. students more competitive with increasingly proficient students from other countries. These standards emphasize teaching math more in-depth, and teaching English and language arts through not just classic books but also historical documents and technical manuals. States and school districts can decide specifics.
Critics lashed back in some states that adopted the standards, but in Pennsylvania limited resistance resulted when the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, a 21-member panel with 17 members appointed by the governor, approved their adoption in 2010.
“That‘s because the standards are not really in any conflict with standards that Pennsylvania already has,” said Ron Cowell, president of the nonprofit Education Policy and Leadership Center in Harrisburg.
Some educators say the United States is fast losing ground to other countries. The graduation rate for U.S. high school students in 2010 was 77 percent, well below the average of 84 percent for the 34 member countries of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.
Click here to read the full article by Rick Wills published in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review (December 30, 2012)