Sunday, June 1, 2014

Are the Common Core Standards Voluntary? | Paul Bruno

Are the Common Core Standards Voluntary? | Paul Bruno:

Are the Common Core Standards Voluntary?

50323994Did states adopt the Common Core standards voluntarily, or were they forced to do so by the federal government?
I’m not sure why we would think the answer to that question matters very much. If adopting the CCSS would be good for a state, then their adoption by that state would be good. If adopting the new standards would be bad for a state, then the state shouldn’t adopt them. Information about how the standards are (or are not) adopted seems neither necessary nor sufficient to determine whether adoption should proceed.1
Still, suppose we’re really interested in whether or not the standards were “voluntary” for states. And let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that it makes sense to talk about states doing things “voluntarily”, a substantial assumption given that “freedom” is a difficult concept to apply even to individual people.
So, were the standards voluntarily adopted by states? There is a prima facie case that they were, even if the Obama administration ended up supporting them. AsMichael Petrilli says:
These standards started out as a state effort, with support from private entities like the Gates Foundation. It was the governors and state superintendents who came together, voluntarily, to draft higher common standards, because they acknowledged that their own state standards were set too low. There was already momentum behind the standards when the Obama administration intervened.
Along with the fact that not every state has adopted the CCSS, this is basically dispositive. If states mostly supported the standards prior to the Obama Are the Common Core Standards Voluntary? | Paul Bruno: