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Core Standards Will Lead to a Federal Takeover

June 21, 2010

If state Board of Education chair Wanda Barrs is correct in her assertion that the state’s teachers and students will be relieved to find many elements of Georgia’s standards in the new Common Core national education standards, where does

If state Board of Education chair Wanda Barrs is correct in her assertion that the state’s teachers and students will be relieved to find many elements of Georgia’s standards in the new Common Core national education standards, where does that leave citizens of other states? Perhaps they won’t find Georgia’s ideas peachy keen and would prefer their own.

What began as a state-led initiative now has the money and muscle of the federal government behind it. The Obama administration seeks a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind law that would compel all states to adopt these unitary standards or lose billions in federal aid. In addition, Washington is spending $350 million for the development of a national test based on these standards.

The chairwoman tries to distinguish between standards, which she calls mere goals for what should be learned, and curriculum, which (in her words) “guides how a teacher teaches the standards.”

But if a teacher must teach to a national test based on the standards, this is a distinction without a difference. Barrs also completely ignores the question of who will take ownership of the Common Core and make future revisions that may bear no resemblance to Georgia’s current standards. Clearly, Washington is in the process of taking over.

Robert Holland, senior Fellow for education policy, Heartland Institute, Chicago

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Robert Holland, a journalist and author who has championed school choice throughout his career, is a Heartland Institute Senior Fellow addressing education policy.
rholland@heartland.org @PeripateticPop