Duncan on the Common Core: “Huge Step in the Right Direction”

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was recently interviewed by AP on recent education reforms that has been implemented.  A couple of excerpts:

For those in states where the Common Core standards are being implemented, students could see more emphasis on critical thinking and spending a longer time gaining a deeper understanding of a more limited range of concepts in math. The standards were independently adopted and created by the states, but the Obama administration encouraged their expansion through its Race to the Top competition, which has awarded more than $4 billion to 18 states and the District of Columbia to pursue education reforms. (emphasis mine)

Fallacy Alert:  I could spend several posts on how these the emphasis on critical thinking and the math standards, but instead I’ll focus on this statement –  “The standards were independently adopted and created by the states.”

The Obama administration pushed cash-strapped states to adopt these standards via Race to the Top.  Also saying “the states adopted” implies that legislatures actually got to vote on these which is not the case.  Secondly saying that “the states created” makes it sound again like Legislatures had a hand in this.  No it was rather a handful of educrats connected to the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association – trade associations – not states who developed the standards.

The second excerpt:

Proponents of the standards say they will better and more equitably prepare students for higher education or a career and make it easier for students who change schools across states. Critics point out they are being implemented across the country without any kind of pilot, and a Brookings Institution report found that states with high academic standards don’t necessarily have higher achievement.

Duncan said the transition to the standards might be “a little bumpy or choppy, but it’s a huge step in the right direction.”

So with the study that Brookings Institution provided and the fact these standards have not been field tested any what actual proof can Secretary Duncan offer that these standards are actually a step in the right direction.