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On Common Standards, D.C. Makes 29

By guest blogger Stephen Sawchuk

The District of Columbia last night became the 29th adopter of the common benchmarks crafted as part of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Interestingly, the district's own English/language arts standards did slightly better on a recent comparison of state standards to the CCSSI standards, conducted by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

While the fast clip of adoptions—Massachusetts also approved the standards yesterday—bodes well for the CCSSI, a number of supporters of common standards have raised a few points that warrant repeating.

In a New York Times article, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten called the quick action a "Race to Adopt." She made the point that adopting the common standards won't amount to much without careful, deliberate plans to implement them so that teachers know how to teach them and students can meet them.

Chester E. Finn, Jr., president of the Fordham Institute, meanwhile, wondered about states that don't win Race to the Top grants. (You'll recall that the feds are awarding additional points in that competition for adopting the standards by Aug. 2.) He thinks states that don't win in the federal competition might be disinclined to actually implement the standards in a timely fashion.

Food for thought for all of you common-standards-watchers out there.


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