Parents, teachers, and state legislators continue to be concerned about the untested and low standards represented by Common Core. Some states are delaying implementation until lawmakers can review the scheme, and other states have pulled out of the planned testing consortia. “There is some irony in the fact that Arne Duncan keeps saying that the Core is not the work of the federal government while he, the federal secretary of education, goes around attacking its critics.” (Washington Post, 6-25-13)
A Wichita, Kansas charter school has taken down the “five pillars of Islam” bulletin board that appeared on the wall of a 4th-grade classroom on the first day of school. Although the editors of the Wichita Eagle claimed “in context, the bulletin board fit perfectly into the core knowledge curriculum’s study of the five major religions of the world,” others wonder what the reaction would be to a display of the Ten Commandments in a public school classroom.
In August, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law mandating that all public school students be allowed to use whatever bathroom they wish based on their self-identified rather than their biological gender. Even the youngest students will be introduced to transgender issues because the law applies to all students, including those in kindergarten. Older students will use whatever locker room they wish.
Only 36% of Americans aged 16 to 24 who aren’t enrolled in school are working full-time. This is down 10% from 2007. Young people are leaving school without skills. Many who do have jobs are not working in long-term jobs; dog-walking and yoga instructor are fun for now, but not so great at age 45. This may result in much of “the American labor force never achiev[ing] middle-class wages in a relatively secure full-time job.” (The New York Times, 9-7-13)