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How Many States Will Adopt Common Standards?

The first public draft of the common standards is out, as you know from reading edweek.org and this blog. But states don't have to put their feet to the fire on this thing yet, since it isn't the final version. (That won't happen until after the public- comment period closes on April 2 and revisions are made based on that feedback.)

So far, the fact that the draft has been a work in progress has allowed states to demur about whether they will adopt the common standards. A popular line has sounded something like this: "Check back with us when the thing is finalized, and then we'll be able to tell you what we think."

As that hour draws near, we're starting to hear a new line gain popularity: "We like the idea of common standards, but we'll adopt them only if they're better than the ones we already have."

Check out recent statements by top ed officials in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Virginia's new governor made no bones about it: His state's standards are better, he said, so adopting the common core would represent a step down that he will not endorse. And can we forget the recent 'ouch' statement by Minnesota's governor? Remember, too, that Kentucky already jumped out there and adopted the draft common standards, and that adoption—while important symbolically—is still conditional on its review of the final document.

To be fair, we need to note that less-conditional views are circulating out there as well. Folks in New Jersey, for instance, were quoted recently saying that the common standards will help streamline that state's, ahem, "higher and more numerous" approach to standards. (A slightly longer version of this story, which now seems to have disappeared from the internet, also quoted New Jersey state board of education President Josephine Hernandez saying the board would be "very receptive" to the common standards after they're finalized.)

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