The school leaders of New York City, Newark, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., convened a meeting to tell publishers that they would not buy their textbooks unless they were closely aligned with the Common Core standards.
Now bear in mind that these districts are in the forefront of corporate reform. Washington, D.C., Newark and Chicago are among the nation’s lowest performing districts.
Bear in mind that the Common Core standards have never been implemented or field-tested anywhere. No one knows how they will affect student achievement or whether they will widen the achievement gap between students of different races and income groups. If the standards are as rigorous as claimed, they may well worsen the achievement of students who are already struggling, as so many are in these districts.
One must wonder why the districts that have so many students who are at risk of failing are so ardent to promote this untested set of standards.
I note that Jason Zimba, the author of the math standards, attended the event. Zimba is–or was until a few weeks ago–a member of the small board of directors of Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst. The other members were David Coleman, the architect of the Common Core standards, and a third person who works for David Coleman. Coleman, recently named to be president of the College Board, created an assessment company called the “Grow Network” which was sold to McGraw-Hill in 2005, for a rumored $81 million.