## Common Core: Is the problem really standards?

When questioned in the debate re: his support for Common Core, Jeb Bush gave a mushy (and self-contradictory) answer .

When he was done, I wasn’t sure if he was for it or against it.

For his punch line, he reverted to the universal “we need to set higher standards” argument.

A couple of other candidates jumped in to praise higher standards.

Sounds like motherhood, right?

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I’m not so sure ….

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First, an analogy.

With some heavy rounding, I’m 5’ 9” inches tall.

Shocker  I can’t dunk a basketball on a 10 feet high basket.

I bet that a specialized coach could get my vertical leap upped by a couple of inches … but far short of dunking.

What’ll happen if the basket is raised to 11 feet?

Conceivably, I’d try harder and my vertical leap would stretch a bit higher …  but I doubt it.

Most likely, I’d quit banging my head against the wall and switch sports.

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The Apparent Problem

According to numerous sources :

“In a recent comparison of academic performance in 57 countries, students in the United States performed near the middle of the pack.

On average 16 other industrialized countries scored above the United States in science, and 23 scored above us in math.

Experts noted that the United States’ scores remained about the same in math between 2003 and 2006, the two most recent years the test.”

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The Oft-repeated Solution:

Raise academic standards and make them consistent from state-to-state

Bingo. Problem solved.

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Primed by the above analogy, I started wondering whether the issue is really that standards are too low …

After some cursory web-searching, I can’t tell if the Common Core standards are really more stringent or just different.

Old-timers might remember when the U.S. was going to adopt new standards by going metric.

How did that work out?

With no evidence to the contrary, I’ll stipulate that the Common Core standards are higher and more contemporary.

In other words, let’s hike the basket up to 11 feet.

So, the analogous question reduces to: are we underachieving for our height, or just too short?

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The IQ shortfall

Keep in mind the finding that U.S. students were in the middle of a 57 country pack re: science and math scores.

Where do U.S. students stand re: IQ?

Answer: Tied for 19th place in the world (list below).

In other words, academic performance seems to correlate pretty closely with IQ.

That’s a shocker isn’t it.

Of course, correlation isn’t necessarily causation.

Still, seems like a relationship worth looking into, right?

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So, why obsess over standards?

Just print up some new standards, mail them out … and declare victory.

You know, just raise the basket.

That’s a lot easier than making everybody taller … or smarter

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IQ Ranks by Country

 Rank Country IQ 1 Hong Kong 107 2 South Korea 106 3 Japan 105 4 Taiwan 104 5 Singapore 103 6 Austria 102 6 Germany 102 6 Italy 102 6 Netherlands 102 10 Sweden 101 10 Switzerland 101 12 Belgium 100 12 China 100 12 New Zealand 100 12 United Kingdom 100 16 Hungary 99 16 Poland 99 16 Spain 99 19 Australia 98 19 Denmark 98 19 France 98 19 Mongolia 98 19 Norway 98 19 United States 98 25 Canada 97 25 Czech Republic 97 25 Finland 97 28 Argentina 96 28 Russia 96 28 Slovakia 96 28 Uruguay 96 28 Portugal 95 32 Slovenia 95 34 Israel 94 34 Romania 94 36 Bulgaria 93 36 Ireland 93 36 Greece 93 39 Malaysia 92 40 Thailand 91 41 Croatia 90 41 Peru 90 41 Turkey 90 44 Colombia 89 44 Indonesia 89 44 Suriname 89 47 Brazil 87 47 Iraq 87 47 Mexico 87 47 Samoa 87 47 Tonga 87

Source: Intelligence and the Wealth and Poverty of Nations

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