Jamie Vaznis leads the Globe with a story that really needs a lot of attention — no matter what your view is. We’ve said it many times before: High academic standards are the lifeblood of high student achievement in our public schools — all of our public schools. We love public charters because they are effective delivery mechanisms, but would we want charters without high academic standards? No thanks. That’s one of the principal reasons why charters in other states often are as ineffective as their district school peers.
You’ve seen my view on standards in many a blog post, so let’s applaud others for theirs — and let’s hope they remain strong on this issue. First kudos go to Anne Wass:
“In principle, national standards make sense because a child in Mississippi deserves to be taught at the same level as a child in Massachusetts,’’ said Anne Wass, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the state’s largest teachers union. “But if the standards lower things in Massachusetts I wouldn’t think that is good.’’
I like the clarity of her position. That’s important from the head of the state’s largest teachers’ union. And it contrasts with the view from Glenn Koocher, ED of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees, who
said he found the standards to be “comprehensive’’ and on par with Massachusetts.
We’ve analyzed the proposed standards backwards and forwards, and they are not. See the Wurman/Stotsky op-ed in the Saturday Globe for a very brief summary of the proposed common core standards’ failings.
And, finally, a garland for Massachusetts Ed Secretary who has committed publicly to rejecting the common core standards if they are not as rigorous as the Massachusetts standards — and also for using our leadership role nationwide to push the needle in the right direction. That’s tough when you have to negotiate standards among 48 states but worth trying.
Reville said that Massachusetts has been held up as a model in the writing of the national standards and that the drafters have been receptive to the state’s recommendations for changes after previous drafts were made available. For that reason, Reville said he believes Massachusetts can still shape the final version.
“Since we are leaders in this area, we have a civic responsibility to participate in the process, but in the end we will have to make a decision [whether] to endorse these standards,’’ Reville said.
Let’s hope, as the political pressure is applied from DC, that the Secretary proves his mettle.