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Hashing out the pros and cons of the Common Core curriculum

Arne Duncan

Opponents of national standardization and centralized control of education could quibble with the analysis of Kalman R. Hettleman, a former member of the Baltimore School Board ("The brewing battle over the Common Core," July 14).

However, it was refreshing to read the take of one "ardent fan of national standards and tests" who recognizes (1) the existence of a bipartisan, conservative-liberal coalition opposing the Common Core juggernaut, and (2) the reasonableness of at least slowing down the train to let classrooms adjust before authorities start holding students and teachers accountable for scores from the online testing.

Mr. Hettleman's take contrasts sharply with Education Secretary Arne Duncan's demonization of Common Core opponents as right-wing nuts and his recent appeal to editors to squash dissent. Part of the reason Common Core has attracted so much opposition from both the right and left is that it was developed in elitist fashion, bankrolled by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, presented as a fait accompli without public hearings and then pushed hard by the Obama administration. If there were a do-over, it would invite parents and teachers into the discussion and put reasonable advocates pro and con, such as Mr. Hettleman, at the table.

Robert Holland, Chicago

The writer is a senior fellow for education policy at the Heartland Institute.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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