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Common Core Math May Not Add Up Politically For Some Backers

Image: Common Core Math May Not Add Up Politically For Some Backers Common Core standards posted on a bulletin board in a second grade classroom at George Buck Elementary School in Indianapolis.

Tuesday, 01 Apr 2014 01:04 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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The rising political controversy around Common Core math may give a new meaning to counting votes in some state and local races – and perhaps even the 2016 presidential race.

Common core math has been a growing political issue as states grapple with improving educational standards nationwide but maintaining state and local control. Forty-four states have voluntarily adopted Common Core, a set of college and career-ready standards for kindergarten through high school in English, language arts and math, according to the Common Core website.

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States agreeing to such standards became eligible for Race to the Top federal funding from the Obama administration, according to U.S. News and World Report, but critics have charged that the Common Core is an effort to nationalize education.

Texas, which has one of the largest public school systems in the country, decided against Common Core.

Gov. Rick Perry told U.S. News earlier this month that he felt Texas would be penalized "for refusing to commit to adopt national curriculum standards and tests and to incur ongoing costs."

"Texas is on the right path toward improved education, and we would be foolish and irresponsible to place our children's future in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and special interest groups thousands of miles away in Washington, virtually eliminating parents' participation in their children’s education," said Perry.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush defends Common Core, charging that the standards and implementation are controlled by each state and the initiative was needed to make the U.S. more competitive with education systems around the world, reported the Miami Herald.

"Let me tell you something. In Asia today, they don't care about children's self-esteem," the potential presidential candidate told the newspaper. "They care about math, whether they can read – in English – whether they understand why science is important, whether they have the grit and determination to be successful."

However, according to Fox News, many parents see Common Core as a federal government initiative and are concerned about the "data mining" of students' personal information.

"You really have a populist reaction, and that's true on the left and the right," Tom Loveless, of the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings Institute, told Fox News. "Those populist candidates are running against the Common Core, and they are going to say Washington is interfering with children's schooling and that teachers, parents and principals at the local level are better equipped to decide on what kids learn."

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