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The bitter taste of Common Core

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Sunday, July 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

States that sign on to the supposedly “optional” one-size-fits-all Common Core education standards might well find themselves gradually locked in as this latest cure for what ails public education expands into the SAT and ACT college-readiness assessment exams.

That means not only public schools but also private schools will have little choice but to take up Common Core State Standards in preparing students for these exams.

Pennsylvania is among 45 states that have agreed to adopt the standards, which specify what concepts should be mastered by students at each grade level in individual subjects. But as The Heritage Foundation points out, opting out will become increasingly difficult. This, as the SAT is “aligned to the Common Core,” according to a College Board email quoted in a Washington Post report.

Last year, 1.66 million students took the college-entry SAT exam, according to the College Board.

Critics argue that Common Core's education standards are ideologically and unduly influenced by meddlesome third parties. Says Ze'ev Wurman, a software architect and math-advisory expert in California and Washington, D.C., “No state has any reason left to aspire for first-rate standards, as all states will be judged by the same mediocre national benchmark enforced by the federal government.”

That is, unless enough states, given their taste of Common Core, spit out this latest cure-all for the malaise of public education.

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