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Hopefully, U.S. won't follow France's Common Core lead that 'dumbs down' education (Your view)

Common Core state standards thatbenefit fine artsare good.It's good that students wish to master mathematics and language artsin order to stimulate critical thinking, problem solving, andreasoning to become a talented artist.

Artists, however, do not need to possess the level of knowledge inmathematics and science that is necessary inother fields, such as medicine and engineering.In France, studentshave a choice as to what will be their major and they will pursue it for the rest of their life.

About 20 years ago, there was an "education reform" because practically all students were majoring in liberal art-type degrees, which created a grave shortage of medical doctors and engineers.France then dictated that only the top 10 percentile could pursue liberal art degrees. Since then, France, just like the United States, has had plenty of problems arising with howeducation ismanaged.The negative effect that these measures have had on the country ishigh dropout rates that keep rising.

France's students in third grade spend 847 hours a year in school, compared with 750 hours for children elsewhere in the European Union. In the United States,these studentsaverage 950 hours.I don't think the United States is at this point, and reading thishelps to place things into perspective.

But it should also serve as a stern warning to politicians who are thinking about radical education reform.Don't make the same mistakes that France is making!For the sake of political power and gain, the Frenchare interfering with potential market forces that might help education becomemore efficient and beneficial to students. The curriculum is even being attacked by these backward "education experts" who claim thatthe focus istoo much on "rote learning" and not enough about creativity or critical thinking (causing a new term, "dumbing down," to evolve).

Meanwhile, protests, strikes, and othertypes of nationwide action from teachers unions and mayors of small towns are in the opposition.

Great political and economic thinkers were born and spent at least part of their time living in France.Perhaps they need a second Age of Enlightenment to sort out the incompetence in their education system.

Hopefully, the U.S. education system will not fall into such chaos.

Patricia B. Brewer

Huntsville



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