Valerie Strauss reports that almost all the superintendents in the state of Maryland signed a letter protesting the rushed timetable for Arne Duncan’s favorite reforms.

She writes:

“Nearly all of the superintendents of Maryland school districts have signed a statement that criticizes federal and state education officials for forcing them to implement several major reforms, including the Common Core State Standards, on what they say is an unrealistic timetable.

“The document, approved by 22 of Maryland’s 24 superintendents from districts educating more than 800,000 students, asks for more time and resources to put the reforms in place, including the use of new Common Core tests expected in the 2014-2015 school year. The statement (which you can read here) represents the first time that such a high percentage of schools chiefs in Maryland have come together to publicly call out education officials over school reform.

“Parents, elected officials, community leaders and pundits are reacting sometimes with alarm as local school systems throughout the state deal with the challenges of implementing the many components of education reform,” says the document, obtained by The Washington Post. Carl Roberts, executive director of the Public School Superintendents Association of Maryland and a former superintendent, organized the joint statement but would not identify the two superintendents who did not sign on.

“Though affirming that they wholeheartedly support the Common Core standards as “a more rigorous path through pre-kindergarten to grade twelve for all students,” the superintendents wrote that there are serious problems with the introduction of the reforms. They specifically cited the fact that Maryland plans to continue using an outdated test — the Maryland School Assessments — while the state has shifted to a new curriculum that isn’t aligned with the old test. They also said it is inappropriate for new test-based teacher evaluations and accountability measures to roll out before the reforms have been fully put in place.”

It bears noting that Duncan’s faith in evaluating teachers by test scores has not worked anywhere it has been tried. In New York, for example, tens of millions of dollars (perhaps more) were spent to determine that 1% of teachers were “ineffective,” and that 1% might have been misidentified. The Common Core standards have not yet been validated for any purpose, except on paper. Some 500 early childhood experts have declared them to be inappropriate for the early grades.

The federal government apparently wants everyone to jump into the deep end of the pool, whether they can swim or not, and without looking to see if the pool has any water in it.