- In 1996 the National Governor’s Association and corporate leaders created Achieve, Inc. Achieve is an independent, bipartisan, nonprofit education reform organization.
- In 2005, Achieve launched the American Diploma Project (in partnership with the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and Education Trust). ADP has network districts in 35 states and includes 85% of public school students; seeks to align high school standards, assessments and graduation requirements with college and career demands. Kentucky signs on as one of five partner states that identify English and mathematics knowledge and skills.
- At the 2005 National Education Summit on high schools, governors from 45 states joined with business leaders and education officials to address a critical problem in American education: Too few students graduate from high school prepared to meet the demands of college an careers in an increasingly competitive global economy.
- Achieve partners with National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers on CCSS initiative.
- November 2007 - CCSSO policy forum discussed the need for one set of shared academic standards
- December 2008 - NGA and Achieve report urges states to create internationally benchmarked standards
- April 2009 - NGA & CCSSO Summit in Chicago called for states to support shared standards
- June 2009 - 46 states publicly proclaimed support
- July 2009 - Writing panels were announced
- July 24, 2009 - Race to the Top competitive grants announced. To be eligible, states had to adopt "internationally benchmarked standards and assessments that prepare students for success in college and the work place.
- March 2010 - First draft officially released
- June 2010 - Final draft released (English Language Arts and Math)
- April 2013 - Common Core Science Standards released
- April 2013 - Common Core opposed by Republican National Committee
Remember the other day when Arne Duncan recounted common-standards development for a gathering of news editors?This muddled issue only became "an issue" because the Republican National Committee, pushed by elements on the far right, decided that the Republican idea of a common national curriculum was really a socialist/Marxist/communist plot.
Here at EdWeek, a couple of us questioned his timeline. He said that when the Obama administration came aboard (January 2009), the common standards were already "in development."
That caught my eye, and it also caught the eye of my colleague Michele McNeil, who covered the startup of the common-standards initiative in 2009.
Blogging about Duncan's speech on Politics K-12, Michele said that it was "iffy" that the standards were in development then, because support was still being lined up.
When I wrote about the secretary's speech here on Curriculum Matters, I wondered whether perhaps the writers had gotten an earlier start than we'd originally thought.
Turns out those questions caused a bit of a kerfuffle. While I was circling back to my sources, double-checking the points in the development timeline, folks at the education department were doing the same thing.
Chris Minnich, the executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, which co-led the common-standards initiative with the National Governors Association, heard about all this and called me up to go over it. By the time I talked to him, I had concluded that what Michele and I mean when we say "in development" isn't the same thing Duncan means when he says it.
When we think of standards being "in development," we think of people sitting down to write them. What the secretary apparently means is folks talking seriously about making them happen.
Minnich dates the roots of the Common Core State Standards back to November of 2007, when state education chiefs, gathered for a CCSSO policy forum, discussed the need for one set of shared academic standards. (David Coleman, a chief architect of the English/language arts standards, dates those early conversations about the common standards to November 2007 as well.)
The next key step on the CCSSO's development timeline are the December 2008 release, with the NGA and Achieve, of a report urging states to create a common set of internationally benchmarked standards.
After that, the timeline moves to the April 2009 summit of governors and chiefs in Chicago, where they called for states to support the concept of shared standards. By June 2009, 46 states had publicly proclaimed that support.
The writing panels were announced in July of 2009, the first draft officially released for public comment in March 2010 (although an earlier draft slipped out many months prior), and the final released in June 2010.
Pro CCSS folks are correct to say that the standards were not a federal government effort. They were developed by state teams of teachers who submitted their work along with 45 other state teams of teachers. The individual state draft standards were melded into one set of standards through much discussion and negotiation. The fact that they may have met in Washington, where the Chief State School Officers reside, does not make them a federal effort, and [Bluegrass Institute's Richard] Innes is incorrect to suggest otherwise. States control education and if they want to throw in together to develop standards, they can.Diane Ravitch correctly remembers the history as well, but more colorfully.
On the other hand, it is perhaps disingenuous of CCSS supporters to continue to ignore the fact that once the Obama administration bought into the concept of common standards (a Republican idea, BTW) and made them a part of Race to the Top, it placed the president's imprimatur on the effort and became red meat for the anti-Obama folks. To say that CCSS is in no way associated with the feds used to be true, but that would no longer be exactly correct. It was co-opted to some degree. Do you want federal RTTT dollars? better support CCSS.
[Arne Duncan's] insistence that the federal government had no role in the Common Core is less than honest. He didn’t mention that his Race to the Top told states that they had to adopt something that looked just like the Common Core if they wanted to be eligible to win a share of the $5 billion prize. But since it is illegal for the federal government to attempt to influence curriculum and instruction in the nation’s schools, Duncan must stick with his fiction about non-interference and having no role at all. The gentleman doth protest too much.
Other than treating critics of the Common Core as an assortment of rightwing nut-jobs, Duncan never explains how adoption of a common set of standards and tests will assure America’s future prosperity. How does he know? What is his evidence? Or is it only extremists who demand evidence before spending billions of dollars and leaping into new practices?