Sunday, February 28, 2010

Why Race to the Middle?

This from the free-market Pioneer Institute:

Massachusetts and California K-12 State Standards
Far Exceed National Standards Drafts

A day after President Obama and Secretary of Education Duncan laid out an aggressive plan to expand federal control over K-12 academic standards at the National Governors Association (NGA) winter meetings, a new report criticizes the national standards process as "opaque" and the federal push harmful not only to states with existing high standards but to all states that want its students adequately prepared for authentic college level work.

Why Race to the Middle? First-Class State Standards Are Better than Third-Class National Standards, jointly published today by Pioneer Institute in Massachusetts and Pacific Research Institute (PRI) in California, is authored by Ze'ev Wurman, a Silicon Valley executive active in developing California's standards and assessments in the mid-1990s, and Dr. Sandra Stotsky, a current member of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education who in the late 1990s oversaw the creation of Massachusetts' nation-leading state curriculum frameworks in the English language arts, mathematics, science/engineering, and history and social science.

Why Race to the Middle? critiques the draft K-12 mathematics and English standards set forth by the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI), which was formed in 2009 by the NGA and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) with the encouragement of the U.S. Department of Education (USED), to negotiate standards among all states. They were to be for voluntary adoption by all the states. Yesterday, President Obama and Secretary Duncan made clear that they would now tie Title I funds for K-12 schools to coerce states to adopt the CCSSI proposed standards...

Thanks to Penney.


Richard Innes said...


While Stotsky and Wurman make some good points, it must be pointed out that they are commenting on a draft set of standards. The final Common Core standards have not been issued (even though Kentucky rushed approval of them, anyway) and the final version probably won't arrive before April.

The final Common Core Standards may fix some of the problems identified in the Stotsky/Wurman paper. In fact, the paper makes it clear that the authors hope that will happen.

Still, the paper's comments about secrecy in the process are pertinent and lead to what I think we both share as common concerns regarding the lack of transparency in the development of the Common Core product.

By the way, I thought you didn't like those free-market - totally responsible for the recession - conservative think tanks.

Have you revised that opinion?

If your readers want to hear more, they can go to the Bluegrass Policy Blog.

Richard Day said...

Thanks for the comment, Dick.

As a child of Goldwater Republicans (at least, Mom's side of the family) I tend to love the part of libertarianism that I don't hate. Transparency gets love. (Dad's folks were very independent Dems.)

I have not reconsidered my position on the economic mess we're in. In an unregulated market place, Adam Smith gets his butt kicked by Charles Darwin. Greed is not good. It's just greed.

I like a regulated, but substantially free-market. at KSN&C we post news from various perspectives. It doesn't always mean that I agree with everything. It means I think it's worth thinking about.