Lawmakers Having Misgivings About Common Standards

By Catherine Gewertz — September 16, 2011 1 min read
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Lawmakers in Wyoming are having some doubts, it seems, about the state’s adoption of the common standards.

According to the Casper Star-Tribune, members of a new legislative committee that is working on state accountability expressed concern that the state could lose control of education decisions if it sticks with the common core.

The committee didn’t take any action to get in the way of standards implementation, but left open the possibility that it might.

It’s interesting that state legislators in Wyoming weren’t concerned with what’s in the standards, but in the process by which they were adopted. (The news report says the issue was that they weren’t “vetted by legislative committees.”)

We’ve reported about some rumblings of discontent about the common standards in a few other state legislatures, but so far none has gotten traction (and at least one effort has fallen apart entirely).

Since state boards of education are the entities that have power in most states to adopt academic standards, legislatures are typically not part of that process. (A fact noted by the Casper Star-Tribune‘s editorial backing up the state board’s decision to adopt.)

If state legislatures decide they don’t cotton to their state boards’ decisions, though, they could certainly get in the way of common-standards implementations. We’ve already heard a steady stream of argument in the edu-policysphere that the common standards represent an intrusion of federal government into local education decisions (because Race to the Top money encouraged states to adopt the standards). And now that the contest for the Republican presidential nomination is heating up, that sort of rhetoric is getting a higher profile.

I’m wondering how this will play out in state legislatures, as lawmakers who haven’t been part of the common-standards discussions start to get wind of them and form their opinions.

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