Common Core — the new set of national education standards in math and English language arts — will take effect in most states next year. This move toward a single set of standards has been embraced by a bipartisan crowd of politicians and educators largely because of what the Common Core standards are replacing: a mess.
In years past, the education landscape was a discord of state standards. A fourth grader in Arkansas could have appeared proficient in reading by his state's standards — but, by the standards of another state, say Massachusetts, not even close.
"Common Core" is one of the biggest phrases in education today. To many educators and policymakers, it's a big, exciting idea that will ensure that America's students have the tools to succeed after graduation.
But a growing number of conservatives see things differently.
For years, states used their own, state-specific standards to lay out what K-12 students should be learning, for everything from punctuation to algebra. But those standards varied wildly, so the Common Core replaces them with one set of national standards for math and English language arts.
Out-of-school suspensions are on the rise across the country, a troubling statistic when you consider being suspended just once ups a student's chances of dropping out entirely. That's why many districts are hoping to keep kids in school by trying an alternative to suspension.
Legislative battles are being fought around the country over whether or not to let home-schooled students play on public high school teams.
Roughly half of U.S. states have passed laws making them eligible to play on the teams. Advocates have dubbed them "Tim Tebow bills," after the NFL quarterback who was home-schooled when he played on a high school team.
But an attempt by Indiana to find a middle ground may not have solved the problem in that state.