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Jaylon Burleson, a third-grade student at Denver s Marrama Elementary School,  works on a writing exercise in this 2011 file photo.

The Common Core education standards are being criticized as too tough. An edict from above. Another way of tightening the tyrannical grip of standardized testing on education.

We hope the road ahead for the Common Core — a set of standards that the District of Columbia and 45 states, including Colorado, have agreed to adopt — gets smoother because it has a lot to offer the nation’s students.

First, let’s talk about what the Common Core is not. It is not a common curriculum or an effort to nationalize education.

It’s a way of ensuring that the nation’s school districts are aiming for the same level of proficiency on an agreed-upon menu of things that kids should know. How you get there is your choice.

We think it’s long overdue. And if it raises the bar, that’s a good thing.

This op-ed was originally published in The Denver Post on August 22, 2013. Read more: Common Core education standards long overdue – The Denver Post