Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Achieve's Role in the Common Core Standards Initiative

One of the many peculiar things about the draft Common Core Standards Initiative is Achieve's role. From their website:

Created in 1996 by the nation's governors and corporate leaders, Achieve is an independent, bipartisan, non-profit education reform organization based in Washington, D.C. that helps states raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments and strengthen accountability.

It is not an exaggeration to say that this organization's entire history and mission has been building up to this moment, meticulously building up political support year over year until finally there is serious momentum toward adoption of a common set of academic standards and graduation requirements. They are the presumptive leader in the field of standards analysis and alignment in the country, by default if nothing else.

And yet, I wouldn't be surprised if the draft Common Core Standards in English Language Arts is the worst document of any kind that they have released in their 13 years of existence. I can tell you one thing, it is obviously worse than their work on the American Diploma Project standards. The Common Core standards are lower, narrower, more poorly written, organized and explained. The Common Core Standards are dramatically inferior to those of Indiana, Massachusetts and Texas, partners in the American Diploma Project.

Why blow it now? I do not know. I am afraid that many actors who have been pushing for national standards for years will finally just close their eyes and hold their nose when confronted with the actual draft standards, because when the final goal is so close, who wants to hold it up by pointing out what a load of crap the document really is.

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