Adoption of Common Core Standards a Big Mistake?

On July 27, 2010 State Board of Education Chairman T. Willard Fair issued the following statement:

“Today, the Florida State Board of Education, in a unanimous and unified vote, approved the adoption of the Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts and Mathematics. This approval marks a vital next step on Florida’s long-standing and successful education reform journey by strengthening our curriculum standards for these critical subjects and laying the groundwork for the comparison of our state’s academic progress with our nation and the world.”

Sandra Stotsky, Professor of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas and former Senior Associate Commissioner at the Massachusetts Department of Education, states in a research report:

“Since coming to office, the Obama Administration has been intent on standardizing what is taught at each grade level in all of the nation’s schools. It has used its flagship ‘Race to the Top’ competitive grant program to entice states to adopt the K–12 standards developed by a joint project of the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). It has also suggested, in its 2009 Blueprint for Education Reform, that adoption of these common standards could one day be a qualification for states wanting future Title 1 dollars for low-income schools.”

“Parents, teachers, and education leaders along the political spectrum are increasingly raising questions about the constitutionality and transparency of this joint project, called the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI). They are also expressing concern about the high cost of implementing the standards and the national tests that will be based on them, as well as the potential loss of local control of curriculum and instruction,” notes Stotsky.

Stotsky concludes, “Common Core’s standards not only present a serious threat to state and local education authority, but also put academic quality at risk. Pushing fatally flawed education standards into America’s schools is not the way to improve education for America’s students.”

On announcing the appointment of Dr. Tony Bennett as Commissioner of Education, State Board Chair Gary Chartrand said, “Florida has made a great deal of educational progress over the past decade as yesterday’s announcement of the international assessment results clearly showed. We still have more work to do as we continue our transition to Common Core State Standards and ensure we offer a world-class education to Florida’s students.

Dr. Bennett is touted by some as a free market educator. However, Indiana adopted the Common Core Standards on August 3, 2010. If CCSSI is “a serious threat to state and local education authority” and “puts academic quality at risk” then it is also incompatible with a free market education philosophy.

What will Dr. Bennett do now that the CCSSI strategy is being questioned?