The Sunday Washington interview shows on network TV rarely get into education policy. There was an exception this past Sunday on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”
The namesake host introduced a segment on the Common Core State Standards, then conducted a taped, sit-down interview with Bill Gates, the key benefactor of the mathematics and English-language arts standards.
The common core is “a controversial education reform requiring more rigorous-teaching in math and languages kicking off across the country,” Stephanopoulos said. “As the new standards take hold, they’re also taking fire.”
Showing a brief clip of common-core criticism from radio host Glenn Beck, Stephanopoulos says “the opposition is fierce.” He later cites American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten’s criticism that the rollout of the common core has been worse than that of the Affordable Care Act.
Noting that the standards have been adopted by 45 states (he left out the District of Columbia), Stephanopoulos said “many of those states are now looking to delay or do away with the core under pressure from a diverse coalition of teachers’ groups, parents, and the tea party.”
Gates, whose foundation has provided funding to support the common core, tells the host, “I’m thrilled this is moving forward and disappointed that through confusion and various groups, its implementation is actually at risk in some states.”
Gates expresses confidence that the common core will overcome these threshold challenges.
“I believe 10 years from now, kids’ confidence in math, kids’ scores in math, can be improved a lot,” he tells Stephanopoulos. “I think this is going to be a big win for education.”
The roughly four-minute segment may have some rough edges on the fine points of the common core. But it’s nice to see one of the Sunday shows even entering the debate.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.