The Common Core State Standards Initiative is one of the most controversial pieces of education policy to emerge in decades. Detailing what and when K–12 students should be taught, it has led to expensive reforms and displaced other valuable ways to educate children. In this nuanced and provocative book, Nicholas Tampio argues that, though national standards can raise the education bar for some students, the democratic costs outweigh the benefits.
To make his case, Tampio describes the history, philosophy, content, and controversy surrounding the Common Core standards for English language arts and math. He also explains and critiques the Next Generation Science Standards, the Advanced Placement US History curriculum framework, and the National Sexuality Education Standards. Though each set of standards has admirable elements, Tampio asserts that democracies should disperse education authority rather than entrust one political or pedagogical faction to decide the country’s entire philosophy of education.
Ultimately, this lively and accessible book presents a compelling case that the greater threat to democratic education comes from centralized government control rather than from local education authorities.
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