John Stossel: Common Core and educational freedom
This may sound good. Often, states dumb down tests to try to "leave no child behind." How can government evaluate teachers and reward successful schools if there isn't a single national standard?
As American education has become more centralized, the rest of our lives have become increasingly diverse and tailored to individual needs. Every minute, thousands of entrepreneurs struggle to improve their products. Quality increases, and costs often drop.
"Everyone who has children knows that they're all different, right? They learn differently," observed Sabrina Schaeffer of the Independent Women's Forum on my show. "In the workplace, we're allowing people flexibility to telecommute, to have shared jobs. In entertainment, people buy and watch what they want, when they want." Having one inflexible model for education "is so old-fashioned."
A video went viral online that showed a worried mom, Karen Lamoreaux — a member of the group Arkansas Against Common Core — complaining to the Arkansas Board of Education about complicatedly worded math problems meant for fourth-graders. She read to the Board this question: "Mr. Yamato's class has 18 students. If the class counts around by a number and ends with 90, what number did they count by?"
But I could be wrong. Maybe this is a clever new way to teach math, and maybe Lamoreaux worries too much. Unfortunately, though, if Lamoreaux is right, and the federal government is wrong, government still gets to decree its universal solution to this problem.
Common Core, like public school, public housing, the U.S. Postal Service, the Transportation Security Administration, etc., are all one-size-fits-all government monopolies. For consumers, this is not a good thing.
Despite Common Core, Schaeffer pointed out that this year did bring some victories for educational freedom. "We saw new education tax credit programs and expansion of tax credit programs in numerous states — Alabama, Indiana, Iowa and others. Education Savings Accounts expanded in other states; voucher programs expanded."
John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed."
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