"Common Core" is one of the biggest phrases in education today. To many educators and policymakers, it's a big, exciting idea that will ensure that America's students have the tools to succeed after graduation.
But a growing number of conservatives see things differently.
For years, states used their own, state-specific standards to lay out what K-12 students should be learning, for everything from punctuation to algebra. But those standards varied wildly, so the Common Core replaces them with one set of national standards for math and English language arts.
One of the Supreme Court's most anticipated cases of its current term — a challenge to the University of Texas' affirmative action admissions process — has ended with a ruling that does not revisit the fundamental issue of whether such programs discriminate against whites.
It was after school one day when I realized the usual frenzied tone had changed. The girls in my classroom looked worried.
As a journalism teacher, my room doubles as a newsroom, work space, photo studio and home away from home. It is the place where the kids brainstorm, write essays and articles, and -- every once in a while -- solve a few life crises. This was one of those days.
Placing my counselor hat on, I asked what was wrong. One girl’s eyes were wide and her face was folded into the saddest frown I'd ever seen. Another seemed just as dejected.