As I sort of look forward to inevitably writing more about the Common Core standards in the coming year, I should point out that the Common Core is ultimately not decisive. The CC is obviously not necessary to implement the Race to the Top reforms, because we did not wait for the new assessments to begin implementing the rest of the agenda (VAM, etc.).
Of course, it has become a symbolic battle and emblematic of the whole reform agenda -- and the point that middle class parents see -- so it is an important fight. But the reformers don't need to win on a practical level. In particular, the commercial advantages of national standards, the economies of scale argument, are exaggerated.
I just can't stop yapping about how naked the Emperor is.