If you support Common Core, oppose Arne Duncan's "waivers"


by pleas that he “first do no harm” when it comes to worthwhile reforms like
the Common Core State Standards Initiative, Arnius
seems compelled to attach mandates to his forthcoming NCLB waivers
that will require adoption of the standards nonetheless. (Of course, his team
won’t mention the Common Core by name, but everybody
knows that’s what he’s talking abou
t when he calls for “college and
career-ready” expectations.)

says that he doesn’t want to be tone-deaf to state officials’ concerns about No
Child Left Behind proficiency mandates. Fair enough. But then why choose to be
so tone-deaf to the politics around the Common Core?

I once
heard Arne talking about winning gracefully. That’s what’s called for now.
Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core. Most are deeply engaged in
developing assessments related to the standards. During the past legislative
session, no state backed out: Proponents of the Common Core have won a great
victory. The only possible outcome of Secretary Duncan putting more federal
pressure on the holdout states to adopt the CCSS is to stoke the fires of
conservative backlash—and to lose many of the states that have already signed

away from this one, Mr. Secretary. Please, those of us who support the Common
Core are begging you.

This piece originally
(in a slightly different
format) on Fordham’s
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Click to listen to commentary on Duncan's waivers from the Education Gadfly Show podcast


Overriding a key
education law
,” by Sam Dillon, New York Times, August 8, 2011.

Michael J. Petrilli
Michael J. Petrilli is the President of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.