March 8, 2010 12:01PM

National Standards Coming Soon?

After months of delay, the Common Core State Standards Initiative will soon release draft, grade‐​by‐​grade, national curricular standards. According to the CCSSI website, the draft standards will be out this month.

Why the wait? The drafting process has been pretty opaque so outside observers can’t know for certain, but the scuttlebutt is that drafters just haven’t been able to agree on what the standards should contain.

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. As Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby explains in a terrific new piece — which draws on my new national‐​standards analysis — getting very diverse people to agree on a single standard is extremely difficult, especially if the standard is going to be something other than lowest‐​common‐​denominator. It’s one of many reasons that having national standards might sound great in the abstract, but is far from fab in reality.

Hopefully, when the draft standards are finally released we will be hearing a lot more about the reasons, most of which are in my report, that national standards can’t possibly live up to the billing supporters give them. If not, our nation and our children will suffer for it.