Whatever the strengths and weaknesses of Common Core, The Advocate seems obsessed with Gov. Jindal’s flip-flop on the issue and the political ramifications of such. I’d like to see more in-depth reporting on the substantive issues involved. Why is there such divided opinion among teachers who are charged with implementing the program? Why wasn’t teacher input involved in construction of the standards? If the idea of a common core in grade school is so overwhelming, why has “the common body of knowledge” of yesteryear’s university curricula been obliterated throughout academe? What do people beyond the boundaries of our state think about Common Core?

A recent Rasmussen poll reveals some startling statistics and raises some provocative questions. A solid majority (69 percent) of Americans say most high school graduates today do not have the skills needed to enter the workforce. Only 19 percent are confident that they do; the rest are not sure. By almost the same margin, 67 percent of respondents do not think today’s high school graduates have the skills needed for college, while only 19 percent think they do. Only 26 percent of respondents give the American public education system a good or excellent mark, while 35 percent rate it poorly, and just 18 percent believe U.S. public schools provide a world-class education. (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/archive/issues_rotations/education/just_19_think_high_school_grads_have_skills_for_college_or_workforce)

Despite adoption of Common Core national standards in 45 states, only 11 percent of those polled think it very likely that the standards will improve student achievement, while 39 percent think it is at least somewhat likely. Thus, half of respondents have little to no confidence that Common Core will do much good.

Beyond the narrow boundaries of Louisiana, it would appear that Common Core is losing the battle for general acceptance.

Robert Hebert

Economist

Baton Rouge