Some People Wear Two Hats in Common Standards Process

By Mary Ann Zehr — October 30, 2009 1 min read
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Some of the individuals who have been selected to provide feedback on mathematics or English/language arts standards for college- and career-readiness are also part of the group of people charged with “validation” of the standards. My colleague Sean Cavanagh blogged about the fact that some people were members of more than one group in the common standards effort already this fall, but I heard more discussion about it when reporting on a story this week about the common standards push.

Four people—Arthur Applebee, Brian Gong, James Milgram, and Catherine Snow—are both in a feedback group and the validation group. Gong is actually in feedback groups for both math and English/language arts, as well as the validation group. All of these people are heavyweights in their field.

“There is some benefit to having a small number of individuals who serve on both groups,” said Jodi Omear, a spokeswoman for the National Governors Association, one of the organizations overseeing the process. “This allows for some continuity in ensuring that we stay true to the goals of the initiative.”

But Kyleen Beers, the president of the National Council of Teachers of English, said she believes it’s a conflict of interest for individuals to provide both feedback and validation. “How can they turn around and offer accreditation on something they helped create?,” she said.

Her group nominated two people for the validation group before the list of people in the feedback groups was released. She said she was surprised that one of the nominees ended up on both lists.

Gerald E. Sroufe, the director of government relations for the American Educational Research Association, said he believes it would better for the people in the feedback group and validation group to be different individuals representing different constituencies.

“Having as many different perspectives involved in the various stages of this is highly desirable,” he said. “It’s not that we only have a dozen people who can do this in the country.”

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