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Comments Pouring in on Common Standards, But You Won't See Them

The common core standards drew more than 2,000 comments in the first nine days that they were posted online for public reaction. By last Friday morning, the draft standards had gotten more than twice as many comments as the "college-and-career-readiness" draft drew during the entire month it was up for comment last fall.

(As you recall, the "college-and-career-readiness" standards came out first, outlining what students must master to earn diplomas. The newest draft takes those goals and maps out what students need to learn in each grade to reach them. That complete set of standards is what's up for comment now, until April 2.)

Chris Minnich, who's leading the common-standards work for the Council of Chief State School Officers, told me that the comments are currently trending about 75 percent positive and 25 percent negative. Not that we can know that independently; the current plan is not to post any of the actual comments, so we can see for ourselves, but to summarize them at the end.

(The Council and the National Governors Association, which are co-leading this effort, did the same sort of thing for the college-and-career-readiness standards. They produced a six-page summary of the main themes expressed in the 988 online surveys submitted during the commenting process. You can see it by going to the CCSSI website and clicking on "Summary of Public Feedback for College- and Career-Readiness Standards" in the left margin.)

Not unreasonably, the Council is concerned about a policy of posting every raw comment, since any blog or online newspaper reader knows how crazy, profane or self-promoting some commenters can get. But one could imagine that comments could be made public—without promoting any unpleasantness—by using a restrained and clearly stated editing policy that's restricted to profanity and such.

A number of folks are already hot under the collar about what they see as a lack of transparency in the crafting of the common standards. What will they think about the summary-only policy?

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