From the Missouri Watchdog
"Closing the Door on Innovation Why One National Curriculum is Bad for America" was issued May 5th and signed by more than 100 leaders in education, business, and politics, as a response to a document issued in March by the Albert Shanker Institute, which argued for common curriculum for the standards. The May 5th document also criticizes the U.S. Department of Education's $360 million investment in the development of assessments for the common standards (the money that was awarded to the two consortia of states in the Race to the Top competition.)
The group of signers argue that shared curriculum and tests will stifle innovation, threaten local and state control of education decisions, and standardize learning for students with diverse needs. Specifically its points are:
- First, there is no constitutional or statutory basis for national standards, national assessments, or national curricula.
- Second, there is no consistent evidence that a national curriculum leads to high academic achievement.
- Third, the national standards on which the administration is planning to base a national curriculum are inadequate.
- Fourth, there is no body of evidence for a “best” design for curriculum sequences in any subject.
- Fifth, there is no evidence to justify a single high school curriculum for all students.
It also argues that shared curriculum and tests are prohibited by federal law. Arguments for a common curriculum are flawed, the signatories argue, because there is no evidence that it would lead to higher student achievement or that there is one "best" approach to curriculum for all students. Additionally, they say, the standards on which they are based are not sound enough to serve as the foundation for such a curriculum.
The one area where they agree with the Shanker Institute is in that curriculum should be developed before assessments, but such efforts should be decentralized and varied, not "centrally controlled" by an "elephantine, inside-the-Beltway bureaucracy."
Read the critical response to Common Core Standards and sign your name if you agree with their assessments
This article first appeared in the Missouri Watch Dog and is posted here with their permission.