Last Wednesday, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to join 27 other states and adopt national standards in English and Math. Although this was controversial, I believe that this was one of the best votes made in the Commonwealth – a real vote that frames the future of education.
The “Common Core Standards” as they are called, focus exclusively on English and Math, so as to avoid politically charged subjects such as American history. Although the title avoids the word “national”, in reality, the “Common Core Standards” are national standards – we will now be able to compare how students in New York compare with students in South Dakota.
Although Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has been advocating for change, this is really more of a grassroots movement, led by governors (such as Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick) in each state. My hope is that more politicians, and thus more states, will advocate the adoption of these standards. The states that comply could be in a better position get some federal dollars towards education. At the very least, the standards will finally enable us to get a good grasp on the data of how well we are actually educating our children. I applaud Massachusetts and the other 27 states who have adopted the “Common Core Standards” - this is a change that is long overdue.