A leading education reform scholar argues that Common Core national standards are leaving students unprepared for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Sandra Stotsky, who served as a senior associate commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education and worked on the National Validation Committee for the Common Core State Systemic Initiative, writes in the Wall Street Journal that the national standards won’t help students get in to selective colleges.
According to Stotsky:
I know the Common Core buzz words, from “deeper learning” and “critical thinking” to “fewer, clearer, and higher standards.” It all sounds impressive, but I’m worried that the students who study under these standards won’t receive anywhere near the quality of education that children in the U.S. did even a few years ago. …
Yet the basic mission of Common Core, as Jason Zimba, its leading mathematics standards writer, explained at a videotaped board meeting in March 2010, is to provide students with enough mathematics to make them ready for a nonselective college—”not for STEM,” as he put it. During that meeting, he didn’t tell us why Common Core aimed so low in mathematics. But in a September 2013 article published in the Hechinger Report, an education news website affiliated with Columbia University’s Teachers College, Mr. Zimba admitted: “If you want to take calculus your freshman year in college, you will need to take more mathematics than is in the Common Core.”
This is not the only problem of national standards, according to The Heritage Foundation’s research on Common Core. Lindsey Burke, Heritage’s Will Skillman Fellow in Education, says that classrooms should be controlled by local school districts, not by Washington bureaucrats.