A Tale of Two NGA Press Releases, and Then Some
April 25, 2014
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are at the stormy center of unprecedented controversy regarding a supposed set of K-12 “standards.”
The closest “standards storm” that I can think of as being somewhat similar to the current CCSS uproar occurred in 1994, twenty years ago, and concerned the national history standards.
Let us pause and briefly consider that 1994 debacle.
Given the “state-led” origins of CCSS, this scenario, recounted in 1997 by UCLA history professor Gary Nash, sounds strangely familiar– but with no hint of “philanthropic” purchase or punitive, test-driven outcomes:
As with national standards in science, civics, geography, and the arts, the history standards originated in the National Education Goals adopted by the nation’s fifty governors in 1989; in these goals, state leaders specified one of the key goals as the creation of challenging discipline-based standards. Endorsed by President George Bush, these goals led to a Congressionally appointed National Council on Education Standards in 1992. As a result of this mandate, funding for writing the history standards came from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Department of Education, headed by Lynne Cheney and Lamar Alexander respectively. The task of coordinating the writing of standards fell to the National Center for History in the Schools at UCLA, earlier funded by NEH. [Emphasis added.]