College & Workforce Readiness

Common-Standards Watch: Minnesota’s ELA Makes 38

By Catherine Gewertz — September 30, 2010 1 min read

Welcome back to the world of common-standards adoptions, my map addicts! Minnesota makes its mark on the map today, but in its own unique way.

Minnesota has become the 38th state to adopt the common standards, but only in English/language arts, not in math.

As you know, it is the state boards of education that are empowered to adopt academic standards in most states. But there is no state board in Minnesota. In that state, the decision lies with the commissioner of education. And the state ed department confirms for us that Commissioner of Education Alice Seagren has adopted the ELA standards.

Seagren’s decision followed a process that included review by teachers and by the state’s academic standards committee, according to department of education spokeswoman Christine DuFour. The standards now proceed to administrative rulemaking, but state officials don’t anticipate any changes, DuFour said.

You can look over the draft ELA that Minnesota adopted here. As permitted by the organizers of the common-standards initiative, Minnesota added some material from its own standards as well.

We’ve known for a while that Minnesota doesn’t plan to adopt the common standards in math. The state, widely known for its high math standards, felt that the common set wasn’t as rigorous as its own. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty expressed those concerns in a June letter to one of the state assessment consortia, citing the math standards as a reason the state would not join the consortium (to be a member, you have to commit to adopting the standards.). His letter does leave the door open to a change of heart later, though.

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