College & Workforce Readiness

Common Standards: Sing It, Aretha!

By Catherine Gewertz — May 28, 2010 1 min read

As we move into what I’ve come to think of as adoption season for the common standards, states have much to think about. But the Race to the Top competition doesn’t give states much time to think things over. (To maximize their points in that competition, they have to promise to adopt common standards by Aug. 2.)

That’s why some have been arguing that the federal education department should consider easing up on that Aug. 2 deadline. Deciding whether to supersede your own standards, which took boatloads of time, money and political juice to put in place, is no small decision, so states should be able to give it the time and thought needed. Having millions of dollars dangled over your head on a deadline, especially in lean financial times like these, doesn’t lend itself to sound decisionmaking, according to some in the edusphere.

Take a look at yesterday’s post by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Checker Finn for an example of this argument. And his colleague, Kathleen Porter Magee, weighs in as well , urging states to think deeply about implementation before adopting the common standards.

Think, think, think. The Queen of Soul has been arguing this case for decades now. ;-) Will states have the time they need to think?

And do they need more time? They’ve been reviewing the drafts of the common standards as they’ve undergone revisions. But those reviews have taken place largely at the department-of-education level. Have the state boards, who are the ones charged with adopting standards in most states, had the chance they need to really mull over these standards?

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.