Sometimes, it seems like the Common Core State Standards Initiative has little support outside the D.C. Beltway and the analogous beltways in various state capitals.
Opposition to the attempt by governors, bureaucrats and wonky educrats to standardize various K-12 curricula has risen sharply, bringing together conservatives who are opposed to a federal takeover of public education and leftists who deplore ever-more standardized testing.
There is, however, at least one group that heartily endorses the Common Core: the United States military.
There are a couple major reasons.
The first reason is the expectation that the Common Core will, in fact, standardize education for the better in the 45 states (and the District of Columbia) which began implementing it this fall. The Pentagon’s education department — Department of Defense Education Activity — has also adopted the Common Core.
“Most military children will move at least twice during their high school years and will attend six to nine different schools between kindergarten and 12th grade,” according to the National Military Family Association.
The relocations often occur in the middle of the school year. Military kids can find themselves way behind in a subject — particularly math and science — or bored out of their minds repeating stuff they’ve already learned. They can also end up missing critical concepts entirely.
“Instead of having no idea where 6th grade math is when you move from Norfolk to San Diego, a common set of standards means you should be able to get on track in a new school much faster than when states had different standards,” explained education consultant Dave Saba on the National Math + Science Initiative Blog.
Common Core advocates in the military also argue that a uniform curriculum will improve living conditions for military personnel.
“The perceived quality of local schools can determine which duty station a service member volunteers for, whether the family accompanies the service member or stays behind, and where a family chooses to live in their new community,” suggests the National Military Family Association.” School quality will impact whether a family chooses to spend their financial resources on private schools or considers homeschooling options. It can even influence a family’s decision to remain in the service.”