Arnius Duncanus is at it again. Unmoved by pleas that he "first do no harm" when it comes to promising reforms like the Common Core State Standards Initiative, he seems compelled to attach mandates to his forthcoming NCLB waivers that will require adoption of the Common Core standards.
No, his team won't mention the Common Core, but everybody knows that's what he's talking about when he calls for "college and career-ready standards."
Duncan says that he doesn't want to be tone-deaf to state officials' concerns about No Child Left Behind. Fair enough. But why be so tone-deaf to the politics around all of this?
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. In other words, proponents of the Common Core have won a great victory. The only possible outcome of Secretary Duncan putting more federal pressure on the states to adopt the Common Core is stoke the fires of conservative backlash--and to lose many of the states that have already signed on.
Walk away from this one, Mr. Secretary. Please, those of us who support the Common Core are begging you.