Sen. Keith King Chimes In on Colorado Adopting Common Core Standards

Not to spend too much time today dwelling in the past — it’s been 11 days now since the State Board regretfully adopted the Common Core standards — but I felt impelled to bring your attention to a guest column in today’s Denver Post. State senator Keith King, a charter school administrator and education expert, explained why he believes last week’s State Board vote forfeited a chance for Colorado to be an education leader:

This capitulation to national standards in pursuit of federal funds is misguided. Colorado could have led the nation in setting high standards for our public schools, not jump on the bandwagon of uncertain, still-evolving national standards.

Following the pied piper of new federal funding has proven to be a trap many times in the past. When will we stop being enticed into federal programs with some up-front federal funding and then be left hanging when those initial funds run out?

Besides the obvious problem of relying on federal funds that soon will disappear, Senator King raised a specific point I haven’t seen discussed much. Namely, that Colorado’s own high-quality writing standards figure to be forfeited once our state begins relying on regional or national assessments. I think we all can agree students need improved writing skills. It’s very hard to see how Common Core gets our state there.

On a related note, Debi Brazzale of the Colorado News Agency reported yesterday on the skepticism of rural superintendents toward the adoption of Common Core. She must have heard our recent 10-minute iVoices podcast (MP3) with Kit Carson school district “chief” Gerald Keefe.

Parting question for the weekend: Does this development mean Colorado is getting ready to part ways with the long-established principle of “local control” of public schools? If so, what would the implications be?