If you support Common Core, oppose Arne Duncan's "waivers"
Unmoved by pleas that he “first do no harm” when it comes to worthwhile reforms like the Common Core State Standards Initiative, Arnius Duncanus seems compelled to attach mandates to his forthcoming NCLB waivers that will require adoption of the standards nonetheless. (Of course, his team won’t mention the Common Core by name, but everybody knows that’s what he’s talking about when he calls for “college and career-ready” expectations.)
Duncan says that he doesn’t want to be tone-deaf to state officials’ concerns about No Child Left Behind proficiency mandates. Fair enough. But then why choose to be so tone-deaf to the politics around the Common Core?
I once heard Arne talking about winning gracefully. That’s what’s called for now. Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core. Most are deeply engaged in developing assessments related to the standards. During the past legislative session, no state backed out: Proponents of the Common Core have won a great victory. The only possible outcome of Secretary Duncan putting more federal pressure on the holdout states to adopt the CCSS is to stoke the fires of conservative backlash—and to lose many of the states that have already signed on.
Walk away from this one, Mr. Secretary. Please, those of us who support the Common Core are begging you.
|Click to listen to commentary on Duncan's waivers from the Education Gadfly Show podcast
“Overriding a key education law,” by Sam Dillon, New York Times, August 8, 2011.
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