Jay Matthews Praises Virginia for Rejecting the Common Core

Washington Post Columnist Jay Matthews
In September, Washington Post columnist, education reformer, and New York Times best-selling author Jay Matthews was one of the first out of the gate to criticize the national standards movement:

“Despite my many bets to the contrary, the movement for national learning standards still lives. More than 40 states (including Maryland, but not Virginia) plus the District have enlisted. They are executing plans for instruction in all grades and, eventually, common assessments in math and English language arts.

It sounds great. But it won’t help and won’t work. Such specific standards stifle creativity and conflict with a two-century American preference for local decision-making about schools.”

Now, with the new Brookings Institute report out on the inadequacy of the Standards, Mr. Matthews again laces into the new national education standards:

“Virginia, take a bow.

While Maryland, 44 other states and the District are spending billions of dollars to install new national standards for their schools, Virginia has stuck with the standards it has.  Mounting evidence shows Virginia is right, and the others wrong.”

He concludes with a flourish:

“I have interviewed hundreds of teachers who significantly raised student achievement. Not one has ever said it was because of great state learning standards. Good curricula help, but high-minded, numbingly detailed standards don’t produce them. How teachers are trained and supported in the classroom is what matters, even in states as enlightened as Virginia.”

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