Thursday, October 15, 2009

Aligning the Common Core to State Standards

At this point, I'm not betting on major changes or improvements to the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) for Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening, nee English Language Arts, before the final version in January. What I do think will happen is that the final language for Race to the Top, or its official interpretation, will not require that states use those standards as "85%" of their English Language Arts standards. Certainly the fact that the CCSSI stopped calling them English Language Arts standards points in that direction.

Also, I can't imagine many states actually going through with discarding their existing standards for the CCSSI turds. There are a few states that still have genuinely badly conceived and executed standards; they're just failed bureaucratic documents. It happens. But I've looked at various state standards over the past week, including Massachusetts', Ohio's, Indiana's and the shared New England standards Rhode Island uses, and I don't see how anyone could sustain an argument that they are "higher" or more rigorous than the current model in those states. Granted, there is a certain "revision is for pussies" crowd that will prefer them, but beyond that fringe, who?

What will probably happen is that the states will look at the CCSSI ELA standards and say "These are a subset of our standards," declare them "aligned" and leave it at that. This will serve as a green light for a national test based on the CCSSI standards, without directly collapsing everyone's actual English standards and curriculum. Of course, there will be the same effect indirectly, via the eventual test.

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