Rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul, is right about the risks inherent in adopting the Common Core State Standards Initiative curriculum frameworks (“Going solo,” St. Paul Pioneer-Press, Aug. 2). Bad enough so many states are willing to cede state and local authority to the federal government when it comes to education.
Although the standards are supposed to be “voluntary,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan tied adopting the standards to Race to the Top, and President Obama has said $14.5 billion in federal Title I grants should be contingent on states using the frameworks. Yet adopting the standards will cost cash-strapped states hundreds of millions of dollars to implement, even with heavy federal subsidies.
Worse may be the haste with which states are adopting the standards without much in the way of meaningful public debate. The states were always supposed to be “laboratories of democracy.” But if every state is forced to do the same thing the same way, they risk losing the ability to see what works and what doesn’t.
Managing Editor, School Reform News
The Heartland Institute