Joining Alaska and Texas, Virginia refused to adopt the Common Core Academic Standards word for word as doing so would require the state to lower its academic standards. Participation in the initiative to implement common national academic standards, know as the Common Core State Standards Initiative, requires states to agree to adopt at least 85% of the K-12 standards written by the CCSSI word for word. Again joining Alaska and Texas, Virginia has refused to join one the state coalitions in developing assessments to accompany the Common Core standards.
The final K-12 Common Core Math and English Standards were recently released; K-12 History and Science standards will be developed in the near future.
Contrary to how the Common Core Standards have been marketed to states, with the requirement that states adopt the Common Core Standards word for word and mandated assessments to gauge how well students have learned those standards, these standards define what your children will and will not learn. As we’ve seen with Texas and California standards, textbooks are developed to meet the expectations of the largest market. That means that in the coming years, textbooks and other instructional materials will be developed to align with the Common Core Standards.
The Common Core Standards will be the ceiling, not the floor, and they don’t rise to the level of Virginia’s only slightly better than average standards.
We agree that establishing a set of minimum grade level, subject specific academic standards is an important step if we are to reverse the decades of decline in the performance of American students. Word for word adoption of the Common Core Standards makes achieving this goal impossible as states will be prohibited from exceeding the Common Core.
We commend the Virginia Board of Education and the Governor for taking this bold step and standing behind Virginia’s students. We can only hope that more states take a similar stand.