Back to school for millions of American children this year means a new set of academic standards. Called the Common Core State Standards Initiative, the new national benchmarks will help U.S. students compete with their peers internationally and leave them better prepared for college and work, proponents say.
Forty-five states and the District of Columbia adopted the Common Core in 2010, enticed by Obama administration waivers to federal accountability rules as well as billions in Race to the Top funds. But a number of states, including Indiana, Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania, are having second thoughts about the standards. Critics contend they're too expensive and too intrusive on state prerogatives.
Are the Common Core standards really necessary? Or just another case of federal overreach? Ben Boychuk and Joel Mathis, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, weigh in.