To the Editor:
In the next 10 or 20 years, virtually all Americans will have access to the Internet. That will be an important accomplishment, but it will have little to no impact on the achievement gap. Why? Because high-speed access to Google is not the same thing as access to knowledge—at least not in any meaningful way.
Everyday examples abound: Your newspaper will tell you what the U.S. Supreme Court decided; it will not tell you what the Supreme Court is. You have to fill in the gaps.
If you think you can just Google those gaps, take a look at the first sentence of Wikipedia’s Supreme Court entry: “The Supreme Court of the United States (first abbreviated as SCOTUS in 1879) was established pursuant to Article III of the United States Constitution in 1789 as the highest federal court in the United States.” Google is a wonderful tool for those who want to extend their existing knowledge of a topic; it is not very useful for those needing to start from scratch.
Right now, only some of our children are being taught the broad foundation of knowledge needed to harness Google for lifelong learning. But the Common Core State Standards Initiative could change that. It calls for a “content-rich curriculum” and states that, “By reading texts in history/social studies, science, and other disciplines, students build a foundation of knowledge in these fields that will also give them the background to be better readers in all content areas.”
Implementing the common core will be tough, but those who adhere to the research underlying the standards will be rewarded with higher achievement.
Core Knowledge Foundation
A version of this article appeared in the January 29, 2014 edition of Education Week as Common Core Will Bolster Foundational Knowledge