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Duncan Defends Common Core on 'CBS This Morning'

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan took to the airwaves Monday to defend the Common Core State Standards.

Duncan appeared on "CBS This Morning," the least-viewed of the three network morning shows, and chatted with co-hosts Charlie Rose, Gayle King, and Norah O'Donnell about the controversial education standards.

Rose set up the 6-minute segment with some comedy bits by Louis C.K. (from a chat with David Letterman) and Stephen Colbert. Those two comics have probably become some of the most recognized critics of the common core. When the clips were over, the show cut to Duncan, who was smiling at the bits.

Asked about the origin of the standards, Duncan stressed the state-level genesis of the effort, even catching himself at one point when he started to say "we" wanted to raise the bar.

"Common core is a state-led initiative," the secretary said. "Governors, state chief school officers across the country, Republican and Democrat, saying we need to raise standards. They've been working on this for years. It's been voluntarily adopted by over 40 states."

"And basically we want children to be able to think critically, to be able to solve complex problems," Duncan said. "We want our young people to be able to compete internationally, and to do that, we had to—the states wanted to raise the bar."

Oddly, Rose and the other co-hosts tried to have Duncan explain what the criticisms and objections to the common core are, something he resisted by sticking to his message of the need to eliminate "dummied-down standards."

At least give credit to "CBS This Morning" for having a reasonably serious discussion about the biggest debate in K-12 education. 

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