From the Boston Globe:
State education officials have been exploring the possibility of adopting the national standards for more than a year, a controversial proposition for a state known to have some of the most rigorous academic standards in the nation.The national standards, which Massachusetts officials helped to develop, specify what material should be taught in English and math at every grade level. The voluntary effort was spearheaded by associations representing the nation's governors and state education leaders and has received the support of President Obama, who is now pushing states to adopt the standards by offering financial incentives.
I'm not sure how I feel about this. To be honest, I don't know enough about the national standards to make an informed comparison. I do know that Massachusetts has spent billions of dollars implementing its own standards - standards which have launched the state to the pinnacle of the student achievement mountain. That old adage about not fixing something if it ain't broke seems to reverberate loudly with this decision.
Of course, as the Globe article states, this choice is as much about money as anything else. When states appease Obama and sign on to his national standards, they are eligible for federal dollars. The question is, how much cash will Massachusetts get, and is that amount worth giving up control of an educational system that - while certainly not perfect - seems to function better than the rest of the country.
Links: National Common Standards, New York Times Common Standards Discussion
Photo by Joanne Rathe, Boston Globe Staff