At TIME.com here’s my take on lobsters the transformative promise of common standards – a common denominator – and why most of the hype overstates the case. What didn’t I get into was the issue of innovation and how this can also be a powerful lever there.
Assuming quality and comparability are maintained, the new standards offer a common denominator in public education to help think about student performance and productivity. Sounds wonky, but it’s hard to overstate the importance of this to the national effort to improve schools across 50 states and thousands of communities. Right now anything goes in this $650 billion industry. A common benchmark for quality would help change that.
A common baseline will also empower teachers to meaningfully compare their work with peers from other states. It will force publishers and other education vendors to compete using actual results that are common across states rather than based on relationships, politics and claims that are often impossible to judge. Commonality will also make it harder for politicians and various stakeholders to hide behind their own data and claim their states as educational capitals when they’re not.