Teach For America, the teacher-training and placement program, today officially endorsed the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, deeming them "a critical step toward educational excellence for students."
Both TFA and the common-core standards are probably some of the mostly hotly debated initiatives in all of K-12 education, so this announcement is sure to create some waves.
In throwing its weight behind the standards, TFA nods to the fact that four states have not adopted them.
"Teach For America also recognizes and respects those regions in states that prefer to maintain their own standards as long as they are aligned with what students need to be prepared for college," a news release from the group says.
Its co-CEOs go on to say that they believe that "the real power in these new standards is not the standards themselves but the rigorous and inspiring curriculum local educators create based on them."
What's not at all clear is why TFA feels that such an announcement of support is necessary. It's hard to know whether the endorsement by TFA, an influential group typically associated with "reform-minded" policies, will convince anyone on the fence about the standards (if there is anyone on the fence about them anymore) or alter the political landscape around the standards. A number of politicans have recently expressed concerns about the standards, though no state has pulled out. That said, there have been some defections from the two common-core-testing consortia.
TFA's executives will be blogging more this week about the endorsement, so we'll watch to see if they provide any answers.