I thought a preview of Common Core: A Story of School Terrorism (2013) by Joel Spring was just the thing to get people’s attention, now that it’s almost standardized testing season once again. This is a topic near and dear to my heart, as a parent and teacher. A satire on a system that is clearly flawed, this story is entertaining because it takes the issues so far out of the zone of reality…or does it?
The novel begins with the poisoning death of the US Secretary of Education, who is giving a speech. Next, there is an explosion that is traced to a storage room at a charter school, where two teachers met the day before to change the answers on students’ standardized tests, complaining that they were poorly designed.
Homeland Security and the FBI investigate and uncover intrigue involving an intricate political and financial network, a plan to build teacher-robots for test administration, and the privatization of schools. This whodunit with a dash of romance will make you think as it builds suspense to the final revelations.