Almost all of the states along with the District of Columbia have signed on to to the Common Core State Standards blueprint, which calls for consistent standards across the board over who should know what when. The basic justification is that consistent national standards are needed to ensure that all children in all states will be adequately prepared for college and the world of work.
Alaska and Texas did not sign on. This is not surprising of either, particularly for the Lone Star State, as it has apparently gone its own way on content standards. Regardless of your opinion of Texas' education reforms, the one thing that stands out about the Common Core State Standards initiative is that it takes just a bit more control of education from the states and directs it towards the federal government.
Michigan had adopted the standards, but is now balking at them, according to the Detroit Free Press. You can read about that here: http://www.freep.com/article/20130814/NEWS06/308140160/Debate-heats-up-o...
Supporters say that it doesn't tell teachers what to teach but merely gives them goals. If there's a difference between what to teach as opposed to presumed goals to be met, we can't fathom it. Having a standard that says all kindergartners ought to be able to count to one hundred by tens sure doesn't leave a lot of room for imagination. Perhaps they are talking about the content of higher grades, and there would surely be more diversity of such content farther up the learning ladder. Still, even that seems little more than pablum. How much real difference can there be in teaching math or reading skills?
But the main threat here, again, is that that much more control will be lost to states and localities and that much more given to a national association of some sort. This has been put in place so that states may qualify for Race to the Top funding, a White House education program.
We see the true colors of the movement now. Schools have almost universally, at least in the last generation or two, praised diversity. Yet they now call for something which shall centralize education just that much more, and erode a little further the state and local control of teaching. And all for the sake of more money from the feds.
It strikes us that a new golden calf has been forged.