Who's on board?
What brings liberal policy wonks together with corporate reformers and right-wing think tankers -- Linda Darling-Hammond, to Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., to Randi Weingarten, to Chester Finn, to Kati Haycock, in common cause? Why it's common core curriculum of course. This broad coalition is now represented as a list of signers on a statement drawn up by the Shanker Institute, the AFT's think tank. Missing as one might expect are Deb Meier along with many of the sharpest standardized testing critics. Diane Ravitch's name is also conspicuous in its absence. On the other side, where's the charter school and voucher organizations? I guess, since they're excluded from all such requirements, they probably couldn't care less.
I haven't seen anything like this since the bipartisan coalition behind NCLB during the early days of the Bush era. But there are so many conditions and escape routes written into the statement just to get some of the big-name skeptics on all sides to stick their big toes into the common core water--an obvious case of same bed -- different dreams. A lot like No Child.
The framers of Common Core, including the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, purposely left things vague and voluntary--and that's good. But lurking behind the scenes of course is Arne Duncan's test-and-punish, Race To The Top, federal funding reform strategy. Voluntary is never really voluntary these days. Is it? And how can you have a national curriculum without national, high-stakes, standardized testing?
Look out, kids.