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ROGER W. SMITH

WATERLOO — A recent acquisition by the Waterloo Public Library, “Common Core: National Education Standards and the Threat to Democracy” by Fordham University political scientist Nicholas Tampio, offers parents, educators and others a somewhat balanced but critical view of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Tampio presents what he calls “the best available arguments for why democracies should and should not adopt national education standards,” and discusses in chapters 3-7 the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in history/social studies, science and technical subjects; mathematics; next generation science; Advanced Placement U.S. history; and national sexuality education.

He concludes with a call for an end to the Common Core experiment and a revival of local education control, and in the epilogue’s final paragraph, writes: “Pedagogically, schools do a better job when they have the enthusiastic supports of parents and people in the neighborhood. Politically, locally controlled schools teach children and adults the skills and dispositions to make democracy a way of life.”

Although I disagree with Tampio’s apparent infatuation with the ideologies of American educator and philosopher John Dewey (1859-1952), this is an important and useful book. Read it.

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