April 1, 2011 11:08AM

No Foolin’: Tell the Feds to Butt Out

I probably shouldn’t do this on April Fool’s Day — it would be the one day they might go along with it, only to renounce it as a joke later — but Jay Greene’s recent exchange with the Fordham folks reminded me of my call a few weeks ago: Fordham and other national standards supporters should declare publicly and loudly that there should be no federal involvement in “common” standards or anything associated with them. If they really mean what they say — that they want adoption of national standards and curricula to be “purely” voluntary for states — they should not only stop asking for federal involvement, they should declare any federal meddling utterly unacceptable. 

Unfortunately, Jay had to repeat that call because, so far, Fordham hasn’t heeded it:

The claim that Kathleen and Fordham want no more than to nationalize standards without touching curriculum, pedagogy, or assessment is simply disingenuous. For example, Checker once again made common cause with the AFT, Linda Darling‐​Hammond, etc., … in backing the Shanker Manifesto, which calls for “Developing one or more sets of curriculum guides that map out the core content students need to master the new Common Core State Standards.” Checker may claim that this effort is purely voluntary, but that would only be credible if he and Fordham clearly and forcefully opposed any effort by the national government to “incentivize,” push, prod, or otherwise require the adoption of national curriculum based on the already incentivized national standards.

Come to think of it, even if it were an April Fool’s stunt, having Fordham and other national‐​standards crusaders renounce federal arm‐​twisting to get their way would be a big step forward. Heck, at least then everyone would acknowledge that it was a joke.

Postscript: It would be a joke, by the way, sort of like this, which I saw Fordham put up right after I initially submitted this post. I mean, my vocab is always certified family‐​friendly!

Those Fordham folks — you just never know when they’re being serious…