(on Race to the top)... the administration must continue to hang tough on two critical issues: performance standards and competition. (emphasis added)
To many educators, one of the key issues going forward to negotiating "NCLB II" is whether or not there will be a role for performance standards and performance assessment in addition to standardized tests. This is pretty standard terminology, for example or this. In general, these guys are against what most educators are talking about when they say "performance standards."
So, if you've got a thousand well-educated monkeys in a dozen think tanks working on your op ed, you have time to think of things like "Let's start calling this thing we like by the name of something else we don't like, and since we've got a bigger megaphone, the next time our opponents start talking about what they want, everyone will instead think about what we want."
That's totally what's happening here.