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boston public schools

Freshmen in David Nurenberg’s honors English course were spending their Monday morning analyzing the ending to “Oedipus the King.” For an hour, students theorized about why Oedipus would blind himself with his mother’s brooch and debated who, if anyone, was at fault in the famous Greek tragedy. One student dissected the play’s prophecy and another compared Oedipus to Lenny in “Of Mice and Men.”

It was the kind of discussion that some at Concord-Carlisle High School initially feared would become a rarity when Massachusetts adopted the Common Core State Standards, a nationally developed set of math and English language arts standards designed to prepare all students for college or the workforce.

The country’s top education official is in Massachusetts for a two-day tour of schools. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is visiting schools in Boston, Worcester and Reading, where he’ll meet with community college officials and business leaders. Duncan is drumming up support for the Obama administration's education budget.

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