June 2, 2010

Quips on Race to the Top and Common Standards

From late morning until a few minutes ago, I've spent the day under a cloud of variously-intensive headache pain. I'm free of it but also exhausted, so in the zeitgeist of evidence-free punditry about RTTT and Common Standards, here are some thoughts:

  • If my memory and reading are correct, none of the national press outside Florida noted the collaboration involving the Florida Education Association in the state's RTTT2 application until... there was a chance to criticize the FEA. Have national ed reporters been captured this spring by a particular narrative frame on unions? For Lesli Maxwell and others: if you describe everything unions do vis-a-vis RTTT as explicitly or implicitly obstructionist, how can you can distinguish the good actors from the bad? (Disclosure: I'm a former member of the FEA governance board and a VP of a higher-ed local affiliated with FEA.)
  • There is a point to criticism by Rick Hess and others that RTTT required state buy-in to the Common Standards in math and reading one day before they were finalized, effectively creating a cheap zipper clause in the application. At least it's not requiring states to buy in to Texas-approved textbooks. Texas's Board of Education would not have liked the idea of Lincoln's second inaugural as one of the English/Language Arts required texts without balancing Lincoln with Jefferson Davis.
  • And speaking of copouts, at least give credit to Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell for harkening to Virginia's own curriculum standards as an excuse for not putting in a RTTT2 application. He can think on his feet faster than some other governors I know, or his own attorney general. At least until a sharp reporter asks the governor to repeat a single line in the Standards of Learning he's so proud of.
  • Notice that since Sarah Palin's resignation as governor, Alaska has returned to its status as one of the states you put in a map inset or use to miniaturize Texas? Texas and Alaska are the only two states that outright refused to participate in the Common Standards project. They also have mutually exclusive cuisine: you can't get moose or wolves in Texas, and you can't find armadillos or liberals in Alaska.

After hearing some of these, a family member said, "Between that and your sinus headache, please don't breathe on me." More serious thoughts as soon as I can find them.

Update: mea culpa on misidentifying the Ed Week reporter who wrote about Florida yesterday. The attribution should have been and now is Lesli Maxwell.

Listen to this article
Posted in Education policy on June 2, 2010 10:04 PM |