Sean Cavanagh reported yesterday that Texas has withdrawn from the influential Council of Chief State Officer’s citing the organization’s devotion to the adoption of Common Core Standards.
The state’s commissioner of education, Robert Scott, made the decision to pull out of the CCSSO, citing concerns about philosophical differences with the organization, as well as worries about membership costs, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency said.
The commissioner felt that “our values don’t align with each other” on education policy, said Suzanne Marchman, a spokeswoman for the agency. “We didn’t see a return on investment from participating in the organization.”
As a result of its decision, Texas will be the only state in the country that is not a CCSSO member, officials with the organization confirmed. CCSSO said it will no longer receive $60,000 in annual dues from the organization.
Forty-five states, plus the District of Columbia, have adopted the common-standards, which are meant to provide a clear and consistent set of academic expectations for students around the country regardless of where they live. Currently, the expectations for what students should know by the time they reach certain grades vary greatly across states, as do the tests and textbooks used in the states.
Well. That’s refreshing. All that stuff they say about Texas must be true. So what does it say for Texas Governor and potential GOP candidate, Rick Perry? Writes Cavanagh:
But Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican who has said he is considering running for president, has been a strong critic of the common-standards movement, which he has argued is an attempt to create a national curriculum.
Perry also said no to Race to the Top funds and said, “we would be foolish and irresponsible to place our children’s future in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and special interest groups thousands of miles away in Washington, virtually eliminating parents’ participation in their children’s education.” Unlike in Florida, whose teachers association was obliged to Governor Charlie Crist for he’s veto of a school reform bill, Perry enjoyed support for his decision from some teacher organizations in the state.
While one cannot fairly make the leap further on Perry’s opinion on No Child Left Behind or the Department of Education for that matter, it’s clear Perry doesn’t march in lockstep with the national test-based reform crowd. Texas has its own reform bill that’s unfriendly to teachers in SB8. But his opposition to Race to the Top and Common Core Standards are indicative of an independent thinker on education.
Along with Michele Bachmann’s strident opposition to No Child Left Behind and her desire to abolish the Department of Education, Perry’s addition to the GOP field will bring education to the table on the Republican side. Even the most bitter partisan among the nation’s teachers ought to hope Perry decides to run.