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Governors and the Common Core

Governors and the Common Core

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The collected papers for this conference can be found at
http://www.aei.org/events/2013/03/25/common-core-meets-the-reform-agenda/
The collected papers for this conference can be found at
http://www.aei.org/events/2013/03/25/common-core-meets-the-reform-agenda/

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: American Enterprise Institute on Mar 25, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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01/31/2014

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AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTEF
OR
P
UBLIC
P
OLICY
R
ESEARCH
 
Governors and the Common Core
Dane LinnBusiness Roundtabledlinn@businessroundtable.org
Draft: Please do not cite without permission from the author.
Prepared for the American Enterprise Institute Conference,
“Common Core Meets the Reform Agenda”
 March 25, 2013The collected papers for this conference can be found athttp://www.aei.org/events/2013/03/25/common-core-meets-the-reform-agenda/.
 
Draft: Please do not cite without permission from the author.
1
 
Introduction
Raising student achievement has never been so important to the United States. For the first time
in this country’
s history, our children may face a lower standard of living than their parents. At
the same time, many companies can’t find enough qualified workers to fill current job openings.
The Common Core State Standards is one of the most significant accomplishments in theeducation reform agenda, and has the potential to have more impact on improving studentachievement than any other initiative over the past twenty years. If these standards areimplemented with fidelity, American students will be prepared for whichever path
 — 
collegeand/or career 
 — 
they choose, and, the United States will return to being an internationallycompetitive nation.Two national organizations played a key role in the development of the Common Corestandards. The National Governors Association (NGA), a membership organization representinggovernors in the fifty states, commonwealths and U.S. territories, and the Council of Chief StateSchool Officers (CCSSO), the national organization representing the state superintendents of schools. These groups decided to partner with Achieve, Inc., a non-profit supporting standards- based education reform, to create a task force that produced
 Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education
.
1
This report laid out a set of recommendationsarticulating what it would take for the U.S. education system to be globally competitive.The National Governors Association is an organization in which governors from both parties
 — 
Republican and Democrat
 — 
work together on a range of policy issues: education,health, homeland security, workforce development, energy, and more.
Each party’s caucus
determines a leader to join a chairman, which rotates parties on an annual basis. In addition,there is also a committee structure (e.g., education, children and workforce) that informs the
 
Draft: Please do not cite without permission from the author.
2
 
organization’s policy positio
ns at the federal level. Unlike many organizations in Washington,DC, governors make the decisions about where the organization will and will not focus itsattention. The Common Core Standards were no exception.In my 16 years as director 
of NGA’s
education division, I have spearheaded manynational initiatives for the organization; few people have had the opportunity to influence state policy the way that I have over this time. Governors are uniquely political and practical animals,which makes them a delight to work with and for on education issues. In my work on CCSS, Ihad an opportunity to level the playing field and ensure that
all 
students have the opportunity towork toward meeting rigorous standards, regardless of their zip codeIn 2009, I was charged with figuring out how t
o address education as part of NGA’s
 
 Innovation America
initiative.
2
 
 Innovation America
largely focused on how governors could useinnovation as a platform for rebuilding their state economies. There was one problem. Theagenda did not pay any attention to the role of K-12 education. The governors decided to launcha national task force chaired by former Governor Janet Napolitano and former Intel CEO CraigBarrett to determine what it would take for the U.S. education system to be internationallycompetitive. NGA decided to partner with CCSSO and Achieve, Inc. on the initiative, given thesignificant role these organizations play in the education reform movement.
The Governors’ Role in CCSS
 
Who would have thought the United States would be in a position today where 46 stateshave agreed to implement a set of common standards in English language arts and mathematics?After all, we are a federalist-loving nation for the most part. The federal government drives agreat deal of policy in areas from taxes to transportation. However, the U.S. Constitution is

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