There were two big controversies over curriculum this past year. One got resolved by listening to critics and revising the original language. The other continues to churn and burn because its advocates refuse to concede any mistakes or to make any changes.

Rick Hess writes that this is the difference between the Advanced Placement U.S. history and the Common Core. The College Board listened to critics and revised offending language. The Common Core leaders, however, have insisted that it is perfect, its critics are extremists, and not one word may be changed.

The curious fact is that the same person, David Coleman, was in charge of both. He was “architect” of the Common Core standards, and now he is president of the College Board, which administers AP exams.

Why did he respond to critics in one situation and ignore them in the other? I’m guessing but it may be that his board at the College Board told him that the controversy had to end, and it would end only by listening and responding to critics.

In the case of the Common Core, the design of the whole project left no one in charge once the final draft was published. Instead if listening and revising, advocates dug in their heels and attacked the critics as misinformed, shrill, extremist, ignorant, etc. Even the Secretary of Education ridiculed critics, and advocates for the standards lined up big business to run an advertising campaign defending the standards.

Nothing could be changed in the standards, period. They were perfect!

And this arrogant attitude guarantees that the controversy swirling around the standards and tests will burn on. Because no one will listen.