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The Need for National Standards

There are two teenagers. Both of them are valedictorians, both play the same sports, both apply to the same college, and both get in. On paper, the two kids look the same but when they get to school, it is a different story. One excels and goes on to finish at the top of his/her class. The other one, he/she struggles in college and realizes that he/she can’t keep up the grades he/she had in high school. Eventually, he/she drops out of college.

Now what is the problem here? Yes, it is true that some kids can’t handle the transition to college from home or some kids can’t keep a study schedule and get easily distracted since they are on their own. However, what is happening more and more often is that one student never actually was a good as the other. You might be thinking how that can be? Both students looked identical on paper so it would make sense that both would get relatively similar grades. The actuality is, while both of the students looked to have the same grades on paper, the level of difficulty of the classes they took at their respective schools was completely different. This is where national standards come in to play.

In today’s day and age, schools are free to teach at the level they want. While many schools all offer similar classes such as AP’s, other classes that aren’t nationally mandated can deviate drastically thus skewing the results of a student’s actual grades. This is why national standards are so important. National standards within education provide a nationwide structure upon which a curriculum is taught. Many people are advocating for national standards because it will put everyone on the same playing field. No longer will there be differences and deviations among students who come from different parts of the country. A student from Maine will learn almost the exact same curriculum as a student from Washington.

You probably have heard of it. It is a topic that is causing one of the biggest educational debates in the past few decades. It is the Common Core curriculum. The Common Core is a national curriculum being implemented in schools all around the country. People think it is bad but in reality, it is extremely beneficial. For example, the Common Core provides states with the ability to compare grades and test scores accurately since every state is teaching the same thing. It also provides students with better preparation when it comes to college. This is due to the fact that all schools in the US will teach the same thing thus having every student being equally knowledgeable when it comes to going to college. There won’t be deviation among the students because they went to different high schools anymore. Students around the country will be equal. The Common Core also implements nationwide competition. Students all around the country can actually compare their grades now since they would be learning the same curriculum. This inspires students to work harder and not just be the top of their high school class, but rather the top of their nation’s class. One of the most important impacts of the Common Core or national standards in general is the decrease in money spent on specific state testing. What this means is that one state won’t have to spend money on a certain test that only matters for that specific state. Now that all the states will have the same tests, the cost of test distribution, development, and grade reporting can be split. This provides school districts with much more money available for other programs or resources such as improved libraries, technology departments, or funding for clubs and sports such as music programs, debate teams, and drama clubs. This use of the money is more beneficial for students and can help them more compared to a standardized test.

Overall, the need for the Common Core and national standards in education is quite obvious. The good it can do outweighs any potential risks. Students are more prepared for college, they learn at the same level as someone else in their grade, and school districts have more money to spend on positive investments. Now, the only hope is that the rest of the nation sees this and finally agrees that national standards are necessary.