Everyone wants to know what’s up with the Loveless take on Common Core and there is even a bit of panic. I guess it shows my perspective on all this but I didn’t even think the Common Core analysis was the most noteworthy part of this year’s Brookings report. Seemed mostly obvious and given the nature of today’s debate (why oh why can’t we just be more like Finland….) I thought the cautions on international comparisons mattered more.
Anyway, of course Common Core standards by themselves won’t improve achievement. There are a whole host of elements that matter, too, from the assessments to attention to professional development and human capital. It’s why standards alone don’t drive performance now. But, I think a big, arguably the biggest, overlooked benefit of Common Core is that we have a national education problem but it’s hard to have a national strategy for addressing it, a real market for greater innovation, and scalable strategies to support teachers absent substantially greater commonality than we have today. Most of the arguments about what other countries do on standards, what standards do and don’t do, the variance in standards between states now, and so forth are overblown or misconstrued in the public dialogue. The Common Core folks probably ought to do more to help explain that. The devil is not in the details. Rather, it’s in the implementation – which is no small detail. Still, that’s hardly an argument against the Common Core itself.