Friday, June 05, 2009

States agree to share standards: huge shift

Forty-Nine States and Territories Join Common Core State Standards Initiative

The Council of Chief State School Officers - CCSSO - led a Process to Develop Common English-language arts and Mathematics Standards. This was announced last week. It's amazing. Who would have thunk that the previously independent-minded states would sign up for a common set of standards? It's collaborative, it's efficient, it's sensible and it's about time. Bravo!

And I quote the release:

By signing on to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, governors and state commissioners of education across the country are committing to joining a state-led process to develop a common core of state standards in English-language arts and mathematics for grades K-12. These standards will be research and evidence-based, internationally benchmarked, aligned with college and work expectations and include rigorous content and skills.

“To maintain America’s competitive edge, we need all of our students to be prepared and ready to compete with students from around the world,” said NGA Vice Chair Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas. “Common standards that allow us to internationally benchmark our students’ performance with other top countries have the potential to bring about a real and meaningful transformation of our education system to the benefit of all Americans.”

This means no more armies of people redefining the educational standards at each state level. No more need for state specific textbooks. An ability to use common tests around the country and compare results. But wait, there's more:

- They are likely to include science. Maybe social studies too.
- They are likely to include preschool.

- They are likely to define benchmarks that are observable and measurable!
- They are likely to remain consistent with international norms such as the international bac.

3 comments:

roderick said...

A great step forward. Can't wait to see them.

Kathy Booth said...

What states didn't agree to this?

Anonymous said...

I've been trying to read a lot about this since it's such a big deal and outside of the educational press and DC, isn't get much coverage.

The Washington Post reported on June 1: The nearly complete support of governors for the effort -- leaders in Texas, Alaska, Missouri and South Carolina are the only ones that have not signed on -- is key.

However, the fine print on the agreement specifies that they are agreeing to the joint development of standards which, once written, they will decide individually whether to adopt or not.

It's a big exciting step forward but while it creates momentum, it is far from an airtight commitment.

While there are many sides and issues, I'm against the government waste of each state spending money reviewing and redoing the standards. And I'm against having many different textbook versions, based on which state they're for. Lets simplify to one set so that money gets saved or spent on something better than Instructional Designers rehashing curriculum.