Should Teachers Be the Only Ones to Own Education Standards?

John Ewing writing at Education Week seems to think so.

Or was it? After two decades of standards, we still wring our hands about student declines, unfocused curricula, and dreadful textbooks. There is little evidence that previous standards substantially improved education, and the fact that we continually replace old standards with new does not suggest success.

Why have previous standards failed? I think the answer is simple and evident: Standards failed because everybody owns them—politicians, administrators, teacher-educators (not to mention policy experts, publishers, and others)—everybody except the people who actually have to implement them, who have to use them as guides for the real work of instruction, and who have to determine whether the standards really are “statements about what is valued.” Teachers have never owned standards.

I agree that teachers need to have ownership with the standards since they do have the job of implementing them.  One of the weaknesses of the Common Core State Standards is that they’ve never been field tested – anywhere.  Teachers should be able to give feedback.  However should they be the only one to have ownership?  Not on your life.

Ewing talks about politicians, administrators, and university faculty members, but he fails to mention one key constituency – parents.

This is a problem with the education community.  Many within the community, by their actions, unintentionally (or in some cases intentionally) treat parents as rubes who don’t know what is best for their kids; when they are the ones who really do know what is best.  So while teachers need to have ownership in educational standards, with a caveat that they are local standards, they are co-owners along with other stakeholders such as parents.  With a centralized set of standards driven at the Federal level it is impossible for teachers and parents to have any type of ownership.

Which is the foundational reason for why I oppose them.