The Corner

Math Standards Are Hard

The Washington Post editorializes: “And it’s absurd to argue, as does Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), that geography should define a child’s knowledge. Shouldn’t a sixth-grader in Florida have the same math skills as a sixth-grader in Oregon or Maine?” I’m undecided on national standards, but the fact that proponents constantly lean on this bad argument reduces my confidence in them. There’s no reason for 12-year-olds in Canada to have different math skills than 12-year-olds in Florida, either, but that doesn’t mean we need a supra-national authority setting math standards. There may be a real argument that national standards will on average end up being better than state-by-state standards, or that it’s important to have national standards even if they aren’t better. That’s why I’m undecided. But I have yet to see such an argument.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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