Robert Pondiscio of Core Knowledge passed on this nugget:
Common Core’s Lynne Munson has an eyebrow-raising post today on a piece of federal legislation that would give extraordinary quasi-governmental power to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Munson reports that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) will put forth a “21st Century Skills Incentive Fund Act.” The bill would create “an incentive fund for states to sign on to P21 and give tax breaks to corporations who support P21 at the state level.” As Munson notes the bill would make P21 the gatekeeper of hundreds of millions in federal taxdollars.
That’s because the legislation would require any state that applies for these incentive funds first to be ‘approved as a 21st Century Partner State by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for 21st Century Skills.’ So if P21 doesn’t sign off on a particular state’s approach to integrating 21st century skills into its standards, tests, etc., that state would be ineligible to apply for federal incentive funds….If passed, this legislation would make P21’s approach to teaching 21st century skills the only federally sanctioned approach.
Is there any precedent for this in K-12 education? “Higher ed accreditors are independent non-profits,” Munson notes in an email to me. ”If a college or university cannot gain the approval of their accreditor (they’ve divided the country up by region, so each accreditor has a monopoly in their region) they cannot receive federal student loan funds. So they are non-government institutions that hold incredible power over a federal purse. This is the only parallel I’m aware of.”
So Ken Kay, who heads up the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, got Senator JR to run some money to ground for him. After all, the rest of the nation should be just like West Virginia, where these “how-to” skills have been implemented. Yes, we could emulate the Mountain State, with its mediocre NAEP results. Yes, and it is such a good idea to coax states into focusing on “how-to” skills, as Connecticut did from 1998 to 2005. This way, perhaps, we can enlarge the achievement gap and drive down overall student achievement, as the Constitution State so effectively did.
Worse than a bridge to nowhere, this is jumping off a bridge.