In 2007, a group of governors and state education chiefs got together to try to remedy the declining and degraded U.S. public academic system. Their goal was to establish a new set of standards that better prepared kids for college, careers and their ever-changing, hyper-connected and globally competitive world.
In short, as a result, the Common Core State Standards were born.
In 2010, standards were published and made available for mathematics and English language arts. Though standards for science and social studies are still in development, the goal is for states to have 85 percent of their curricula based upon the full spectrum of those standards.
CCSS advocates pitch that the initiative is a step in the right direction from the disastrous No Child Left Behind federal system. But not everyone is catching the CCSS fever. In particular, there are concerns about federal overreach into and control of their local academic arenas.
By 2009, 45 states had signed on to join; Virginia, Nebraska, Texas and Alaska declined CCSS adoption. Minnesota partially adopted the language arts standards but rejected the math ones. And some other states have since jumped ship in other ways. In August, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Oklahoma and Utah withdrew from the assessment groups designing tests for the CCSS. And Congress.org noted, "Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Utah are all currently considering full withdrawal with other fiscally conservative states sure to follow." And in September, Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order restricting Florida's involvement with the CCSS national assessments because of concerns over federal overreach of the program.
I commend the governors and state education chiefs who tried to improve the substandard and dilapidated state of U.S. public education, despite decades of attempts by federal and state governments to improve it. But there are good reasons that so many states have rejected or are questioning the ultimate value of the adoption of CCSS.
Let me tell you my core problems with CCSS and why I believe that the standards are not the solution for America's broken educational system. (I'm going to unfold these problems in depth with solid evidence in successive weeks, concluding with what I believe would be a far better option than CCSS.)
My first issue with CCSS is one that is hot on the blogosphere and in the news: The feds have abandoned their commitment to stay out of local academic affairs by using CCSS to usurp power over public schools and influence young American minds.
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