Ziqiao Wang | 3 min read
Nowadays, as parents grow increasingly concerned about their children’s education, there are many controversies over which educational system is best. Released on June 2, 2010, the Common Core Initiative was a Democratic program aimed at standardizing and equalizing education around America. Some people lauded the program, while Republicans attacked the program as unconstitutional and arbitrary. The reality, we should note, is that it’s extraordinarily difficult to judge the program without several years of implementation.
The initiative of the Common Core is to set up a shared curriculum for K-12 education around the country. This is necessary for two reasons. First, a national educational standard is urgently demanded for solving the unequal distribution of educational resources around the country. A student from South Dakota isn’t going to rival a New York student for all the opportunities he has anyway, but the Common Core program can at least minimize the discrepancy by providing all students with the essential knowledge they need to succeed. Secondly, although it is said that people should do what they are good at, it’s still important to build a well-rounded person. Besides pursuing their own interests, students should know how to appreciate their own language and learn to do math. Those on the Common Core might not be the best requirements, but it’s definitely a positive step toward educational equality.
On the other hand, the many limitations of the Common Core can potentially hinder the development of a national education system. The national educational standard should be discussed in a national convention with representatives from schools all over the fifty states, instead of being arbitrarily instituted by a bunch of politicians sitting in the White House. In fact, the Common Core limits many of the basic rights of students, teachers and parents. Encouraging a national system of education bears no resemblance to advocating for a one-sizes-fits-all education. The idea is that students should be encouraged to delve into their true interest while having some basic knowledge about English and math. The Common Core is instead assuming that every single student will benefit from the same type of education. This reminds me of the failed No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program in 2001, which required every student around the country to have a similar curriculum and take a standardized test at the conclusion of each year. An education would be absolutely ridiculous without taking different student’s different learning preference, style and pace into consideration. The Common Core also sets limits on teachers, who are supposed to refresh the curriculum constantly to meet the individual needs of their students. They are now required to comply with standards decided upon by the federal bureaucrat, standards which reduce their control over their classes. Parents also feel unhappy because they don’t have a say in their children’s education under the Common Core. They don’t have to choose between public and private schools for better education; the curriculums are essentially the same. It’s inarguably good for the federal government to support national education, but these limitations must be dealt with to further ameliorate the whole system.
It is truly difficult to say whether the Common Core is beneficial. Perhaps we could get the answer by experimenting with the program for a couple of years, but we definitely can’t afford any mistake. I still believe that a better solution to national education can be addressed in a convention with teachers and students. After all, education and social welfare are issues that are closely tied to America’s future and they must be taken seriously. Education shouldn’t be the bargaining chip of the political game between Democrats and Republicans.