Steps for States to Follow to Replace Common Core

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on

To help out governors and state legislatures that really want to get state-tailored standards close to the quality of the pre-2010 Massachusetts and California standards–or the Indiana 2006 standards–I have provided an outline of the steps or procedures a state legislature could follow (see below).

The outcomes remain open-ended.  But these procedures, based on my experiences in Massachusetts over 10 years ago, and in other states in recent years, ensure that no special interest groups, including a state’s board, commissioner, or department of education, can take control of the “process,” deceive the parents of the state, and feed back a warmed-over version of Common Core as is now happening in South Carolina and Oklahoma, and as has happened in Indiana and Florida.

These procedures, among other things, are designed to ensure that those in charge of revising mathematics, science, or English language arts standards for a state actually know the content of these disciplines and teach in a state’s own higher education institutions.  If anyone knows what college readiness should mean for a particular state, they should.

Procedures for state legislatures to use to establish standards development committees to replace Common Core’s Standards

STEERING OR EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE to be chosen by the State Legislature


  • Chancellor of State System of Higher Education
  • State Legislators (3)
  • Others?   PLUS (when chosen)
  • ELA Standards Development Chair
  • Mathematics Standards Development Chair



  • Oversees the entire project
  • Final approval of all content and work of the committees
  • Final approval of all committee membership
  • Supported by Attorney General’s office



  • Selected by and reports to Steering Committee
  • Oversees entire standards process
  • Assures accurate communications to the Legislature, the Governor. and the public at large
  • Works directly with ELA and Math Chairs, and directs work of the ELA and Math Scribes


Document SCRIBES (paid) selected by the Steering Committee

  • ELA Scribe
  • Math Scribe



  • Expertise in subject matter
  • Adept at digital technology
  • Report to ELA or Math Chair on Steering Committee



  • Organization
  • Prepares database of all nominees
  • Processes nominations to various committees
  • Coordination
  • Schedules and secures sites for all in-person and virtual meetings
  • Arranges for the services of meeting facilitators where needed



  • Takes and transcribes detailed notes of all meetings
  • Creates minutes from Steering Committee meetings
  • Provides ongoing updates of standards-writing process to all committees and the public
  • Posts appropriate information on webpage
  • Maintains all drafts and revisions throughout the writing process
  • Compiles public comments
  • Coordinates responses to public comment




  • Undergraduate teaching faculty in the arts and sciences
  • Math Chair must be a faculty member in a science, mathematics or engineering department
  • ELA Chair must be a faculty member in an English literature/language department
  • Nominated by the president of the candidate’s four-year accredited university or college that maintain graduate-level programs (not a member of faculty of college of education)
  • At least 2 candidates for each committee will be nominated to the Steering Committee for final selection


  • Maintains schedules and timelines
  • Leads and coordinates the work of the Standards Development Committees
  • Assures that standards are written with an emphasis on disciplinary content and accuracy
  • Works with Executive Director



District superintendents may nominate up to a total of 6 teachers for the subgroups in ELA and Math (i.e., no more than 1 per subgroup).


Membership of ELA Standards Development Committee

  • ELA Chair
  • ELA Vice Chair — Teaching faculty member in an undergraduate English Literature

Department at a four-year university (selected by the ELA Chair)

  • 4 Pre-K to Fifth Grade school teachers
  • 4 Middle school teachers (Sixth Grade-Eighth Grade)
  • 4 High school teachers at each grade level (Ninth Grade-12th Grade)
  • 1 Librarian (nominated by State’s Library Association)


Qualifications for teachers (District Superintendents are to use one-page nomination forms:

  • Minimum 7 years experience at the educational level of the subgroup for which they are applying: Current teaching assignment at one of the grade levels in that subgroup
  • At least a minor in English and/or list courses completed in literature, composition, or rhetoric for those seeking middle or high school subgroup
  • Reading methods coursework for those in PreK-grade 8
  • Steering Committee in conjunction with the ELA Chair and Vice Chair make the final selection of those to serve on the subgroups


Membership of Math Standards Development Committee

  • Math Chair
  • Math Vice Chair — teaching faculty member in an undergraduate Mathematics Department at a four-year university (selected by the Math Chair)
  • 4 Pre-K to Grade 5 teachers
  • 4 Middle school teachers (Sixth Grade-Eighth Grade)
  • 4 High school teachers (Ninth Grade-12th Grade) to Include:
  • Algebra I teacher
  • Geometry teacher
  • Algebra II teacher
  • Precalculus or Trigonometry teacher
  • 1 Engineer (nominated by a state engineering professional organization or university faculty)


Qualifications for classroom teachers (District Superintendents use a one-page nomination form):

  • Minimum 7 years experience at the educational level of the subgroup for which they are applying: Current teaching assignment at one of the grade levels in the subgroup
  • At least a minor in mathematics, science, or engineering
  • Steering Committee in conjunction with Math Chair and Vice Chair make the final selection of those to serve on the subgroups



  • Each Standards Development Committee as a whole selects for use a highly-rated pre-2009 set of state standards as the foundational blueprint (for ELA: California, Indiana 2006,    Massachusetts 2001 or condensed/revised 2013, and for math: California, Indiana 2006, Massachusetts 2000, or Minnesota).
  • Each subgroup addresses each relevant grade-level set of standards by adoption, modification, or rewrite.
  • Standards Development Committee as a whole examines entire set of standards and revises when necessary
  • Submits the documents to the Steering Committee for review and approval




  • Remaining nominees not selected to be on Standards Development Committee


  • Teachers review all standards at their own educational level for appropriateness and wording
  • High school teachers review all documents
  • Comments are recorded by the Scribes and sent to the Standards Development Committee for review and possible action
  • First draft presented to the Steering Committee for approval


SECOND DRAFT REVIEW by higher education and special interest groups


  • State Chamber of Commerce
  • State business and industry professional organizations
  • State engineering organizations
  • Early childhood advocacy organizations
  • Special education advocacy organizations
  • English Language Learners advocacy organizations
  • School counselor professional organizations
  • Speech pathology professional organizations
  • Undergraduate teaching faculty in science, engineering, mathematics and English literature/language


  • Review content standards and advise on:
  1. a) Classroom application
  2. b) Vertical alignment
  3. c) Provide comment on how the standards affect the population they represent.
  • All responses must be signed and submitted electronically
  • Comments on any recommended changes to the Second Draft are recorded by the Scribes and sent to the Standards Development Committee for review and possible action
  • Second draft presented to the Steering Committee for approval. Steering Committee reviews recommendations and provides direction to the ELA and Math Chairs and the Standards Writing Teams as they edit the second draft.



The presidents, provost, and faculty of the 4 year colleges nominate two well known or well published experts in each subject area.


Membership: Selection is by the Steering Committee

  • Individuals do not teach at a state college or university
  • Qualifications determined by Steering Committee


  • The External Reviewer will report on the quality of the standards
  • The External Reviewer will report to the Steering Committee and the State Legislature



After the second draft review, the Standards Development Committees will review, revise and submit a final draft to the Steering Committee. Final draft will be submitted for a 45-day public comment period and public hearing at the State Capitol. Public comment will be incorporated as deemed appropriate by the Standards Development Committee

Final Draft submitted to the State Legislature for Legislative Hearings and final approval.





3 replies
  1. GetRidofCCNOW
    GetRidofCCNOW says:

    If this is done at the state level how do we maintain local control? As a parent, I no longer have the ability to effect change on many things through my local school board. Governments and committees at the state level, and the state board of education all have political agendas. Parents know what is best for their children and local control must be maintained.

  2. Susan Irene Rech Wilcox
    Susan Irene Rech Wilcox says:

    This is so refreshing to realize we have concrete thinking and talent to design a program that HAS worked for other states and an alternative to our complaints about common core. The first question legislators and education CEO’s have is: What do you propose instead? This is the first time I’ve seen it laid out. I am retired so hesitate to purport that I am “up” on everything, but try to keep a foot in the door. These kinds of articles really help me feel like walking on through the door to help get rid of this overtake in our federal government – scary in ANY field. Not just education.

  3. Bruce_William_Smith
    Bruce_William_Smith says:

    We need to move forward into a better future, not return to a discredited past. This is the very definition of provincialism, which has had so much to do with American young adults’ educational achievement having fallen behind that of their peers in every other developed country.

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *