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Mass. Group Seeks Common-Standards Communications

Yeah, there's a debate about common standards, but until now, I haven't seen this tactic used: A Massachusetts research and policy group that has been critical of the proposed standards, has filed Freedom of Information Act requests for correspondence between Massachusetts officials and other major figures involved in the initiative.

You can read details of the FOIA request yourself, in the Pioneer Institute's press release.

The Pioneer Institute has been arguing that the common-core standards would represent a step down from Massachusetts' rigorous standards. See here and here for papers it has issued on the topic.

Secretary of Education Paul Reville responded to the FOIA requests by casting them as a political attack on the state's consideration of common standards. (The Pioneer Institute was once helmed by Charlie Baker, a Republican who seeks to challenge Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick in November.)

"We have made it very clear that we will not adopt any standards unless they are at least as rigorous as our own existing Massachusetts standards, and [we] have been fully open, honest and available to discuss this important policy consideration," he said in a statement e-mailed to EdWeek.

The state won't make any decisions about adoption without reviewing the final drafts, engaging the public in the discussion about them, and giving the board of education time to consider and vote on them, Reville said. (See here for a related blog post about the state's adoption timing.)

"Certain critics," Reville noted, "have assailed Massachusetts for even considering the common-core national standards. But our repeated message to them and to the public has been clear: We will not adopt the national standards unless we are confident that they match the rigor of the existing Massachusetts standards."

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