Common Core standards were created during the George W. Bush administration. It was, in my opinion, the wisest decision made during his presidency. We now have a list of expectations for every grade level throughout the United States. Those that denounce the setting of standards are supporting mediocrity in our schools.
On December 3, 2013, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced yet again that American students were doing terribly when tested, in comparison to students in sixty-one other countries and a few cities like Shanghai and Hong Kong. Duncan presided over the release of the latest international assessment of student performance in reading, science, and mathematics (called the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA), and Shanghai led the nations of the world in all three categories. Of the 61 nations the United States came in as “average” or 31st place.
I know that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people have written about America’s educational system. Here is my take.
The average American family faces a daunting task sending their children to college. Those children in poorer families where neither parent has a college education has a very poor chance of going to college and if they do, they have no support to reach completion. The problem isn’t just student ability there is a challenge of cost. Rather than provide everyone with an opportunity to obtain a college education we refuse to tax ourselves sufficiently to offer even a free community college education.
The cost of state run universities is high with a cost reaching $3,300 at the University of Oregon per semester to the University of California Los Angeles $6,800 per semester. Obviously private universities cost significantly more.
Is it any wonder that we have a poorly educated society? Those that want the education, whose families lack the money, will simple obtain student loans that will take decades to repay.
Where does this leave America? The U.S.A. is the giant that no longer wants to make the sacrifices to lead the world. The consequences will become apparent in the next few decades.