By Michele McNeil / Edweek, June 1, 2009 (online publication)
Forty-six states—representing 80 percent of the nation’s K-12 student population—have formally agreed to join forces to create common academic standards in math and English language arts through an effort led by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
The four states not on board, as of last week, were Alaska, Missouri, South Carolina, and Texas.
“This is a giant step,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who has been pushing states to adopt common, rigorous standards. “It would have been unimaginable, this kind of thing, just a year or two ago.”
As for those states holding out, he said: “I’m not focused on politics, but there’s plenty of time” for them to sign on.
In each of the 46 states, both the governor and the chief education officer signed a memorandum of agreement committing to the process and development of voluntary, common standards—the tangible result of a daylong meeting in Chicago in April. The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have also agreed to take part.
“It’s going to take both the governor and the chief to get this work done,” said Dane Linn, the director of the education division of the Washington-based NGA’s Center for Best Practices. “This is really becoming an economic and a moral imperative. We can’t afford to keep operating in a vacuum.” Read on here.