Education Week - March 1, 2017 - 20
In Standards Battle, States Should Stay the Course
By Maria Ferguson
The power of the federal bully pulpit is
strong and can be used for good or ill. "
he Common Core State Standards and the
broader movement of states to use more-rigorous standards for college and career readiness may seem like yesterday's news now that
Betsy DeVos is ensconced as the U.S. secretary
of education. But it is important for policymakers, education leaders, and the media not
to lose sight of the enormous amount of time
and resources that have been devoted to implementing the
standards across the country.
President Donald Trump, demonstrating his penchant for
policy changes not tethered to reality, has been promising to
"put an end to the common core" since his campaign days. Of
course, he has no authority to do that, and even if he did, recent research from the Center on Education Policy at George
Washington University (the organization I lead) shows that
scrapping the standards may not be what most teachers and
district leaders want.
But ﬁrst, let's once more state the facts about the common
core to counter persistent misinformation about who developed
the standards and why they are being used:
s 4HE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS NO DOMINION OVER VOLUNTARY
state standards, including the common core.
s 4HE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NEVER REQUIRED STATES TO IMPLEment the common core. Those that did, did so freely and on
their own accord.
s /F THE STATES THAT ORIGINALLY ADOPTED THE COMMON CORE
eight have ofﬁcially repealed or withdrawn the standards,
while 21 states have revised or are revising the standards,
according to a recent study by the research organization Abt
Associates. According to the analysis, nine of the 21 revising
states found that the changes have kept the original standards
mostly intact and are mainly clariﬁcations or customizations.
Bottom line: Whether states are calling their new standards
the common core or not, nearly every state has, in recent years,
moved to more-rigorous college- and career-ready standards.