A lot of excitement attached to the news that almost every state has agreed to work on a common standards framework. But isn’t the key line in Glod’s Washington Post piece this huge caveat?
“Once the organizers of the effort agree to a proposal, each state would decide individually whether to adopt it. ”
In other words, signing on to this effort at this point is akin to joining a health club. One person can join a health club, workout daily, change their lifestyle habits and so forth. Another can join, eat Big Macs for lunch and come once a month to soak in the jacuzzi. They’re both still members of the same health club but the similarities end there.
As we’ve seen recently with the common graduation measures adopted by the states (which are hardly as intrusive as adoption of standards like this would be) these ideas often end up being treated like a la carte dining rather than the five-course meal they’re intended to be. States take the pieces they like, disregard the rest, and still say they’re in the club.*
I’m not opposed to the idea of common standards, an idea with a lot to reccomend it, but remain skeptical of the deep and broad commitment to the idea that some claim now exists. Perhaps I’m missing the moment but signing a document that means you don’t get singled out as retrograde but doesn’t require any real action either doesn’t strike me as crossing the Rubicon on this issue just yet.
*And this happens for both legitimate (states have various constitutional and legislative anomalies) and illegitimate (subverting disruptive reforms) reasons.