Nearly all the state board representatives said they worry that they lack the time and money to develop all the elements necessary to implement the standards in a meaningful way.
In Washington state, officials are distributing information about the common standards and soliciting feedback, said Sheila Fox, a board member there. But even if adoption garners broad support, she said, other “planets need to be aligned”: good curriculum, assessments, and professional development.
State board members also expressed many concerns about how the common standards interact with the competition for federal Race to the Top money. Under U.S. Department of Education criteria, states have a better chance of winning such grants if they support common standards.
One member asked what would happen if a state won that economic-stimulus aid and later decided against the common standards. Another asked what would happen if a state won Race to the Top money but couldn’t adopt the standards by the Aug. 2 deadline specified by the federal government.
Kentucky leaders are not going through that kind of struggle. Senate Bill 1 knocked down our past standards and set an aggressive standard for launching new ones. Our own state choices back in 2009 cleared the decks for us to join this new effort.
In fact, we'll firmly sign on next week. On February 10, the Kentucky Board of Education, the Council on Postsecondary Education, and the Education Professional Standards Board will hold their first-ever joint meeting to endorse the common core English/language arts and mathematics approach as Kentucky's way forward.