It has become fashionable to blame the effects of nationalizing education on anything but the national curriculum mandates and the tests that accomplish it.
Behavioral psychologists and economists have considered incentives to be a normal part of human nature for decades, if not centuries, but applying them to education still stokes controversy. For example, some people recoil at the idea of paying kids and their teachers for high scores on Advanced Placement tests that get students college credit in high school, as some schools in Northern Virginia are doing,
According to data collected by the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, American students continue to slide down the international rankings, failing to break the top 20 best-performing countries as of 2012. U.S. students rank below average in math and near average in reading and science. PISA is just one assessment, but it reflects a clear trend: U.S. students are not achieving what they need to achieve in an increasingly competitive global economy.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence has started to prance about the country, touting himself as the governor who ousted Common Core, a set of national curriculum and testing mandates in math and English. But it’s Oklahoma that may actually merit that distinction, if Gov. Mary Fallin signs a bill to do so by June 2.
As President Obama runs about trying to engage states in his Medicare-like preschool proposal, it’s time for Republicans to start thinking as much about small children as they are about illegal immigrants.