Core Rules Are an Apple Of Discord

Should every eighth-grader know how to apply the Pythagorean theorem? Should fifth-graders be multimedia-savvy? Should third-graders be able to write opinion pieces? Forty-five states thought so when their officials approved a uniform set of learning benchmarks, known as the Common Core State Standards, in recent years. But now many states are second-guessing that decision thanks to a backlash by conservatives who say the guidelines represent a federal takeover of education.

The standards were designed to help ensure consistency across the U.S. in math and English, so that students from Seattle to Sarasota are "college and career ready" when they graduate from...

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