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For the last month, we've been wondering whether Ohio would truly adopt the NGA/CCSSO Common Core State Standards , or whether the Ohio Department of Education would forge its own path in revising academic content standards so as to meet the June 2010 deadline. The issue was one of timing, as Common Core Standards won't be finalized until January, and this didn't give Ohio enough time to meet its June 2010 mandate.
Given that Fordham gave Ohio a "D+" in our last State of the State Standards report, and that we think the Common Core Standards are substantially better (see our latest report, "Stars by Which to Navigate"), the possibility of Ohio reneging on the Common Core Initiative was worrisome. Emmy wrote on Flypaper:
"What's the Buckeye State to do??? Should the state board of education risk non-compliance with state law and wait for the Common Core work to be finished??? Should state lawmakers revisit the law and extend the deadline for updating the standards??? Are other states in similar predicaments??? If so, what becomes of the Common Core Initiative?"
This week we got our answer, as state education officials announced that Ohio is fully committed to pursuing the Common Core Standards. According to the Columbus Dispatch:
"This decision means the department won't be releasing its own draft standards in English and math this month as planned, because most, and possibly all, of those updates will be scrapped."
(The Ohio Department of Education will release draft standards in science and social studies this afternoon.) Given that the final priorities for Race to the Top allot 70 points to states for the "Standards and Assessments" category, we're glad to see Ohio fully on board with the Common Core. Adopting common standards is worth 40 points alone. (In contrast, accessing and using state data is only worth 5 points, making education a funding a "priority" is only worth 10 points.) Of course, a back of the envelope estimate quickly shows Ohio might lose a larger number of points for "Great Teachers and Leaders" (138 points) or being able to articulate an education reform agenda and get the participation of LEAs (65 points). But we'll save that for another blog. For now, we're happy that Ohio is adopting Common Core Standards.