Common Content Dustup

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Through thick and thin of state standards battles, there's been little daylight between ed reformers like Checker Finn and Sandra Stotsky. Now the roof has been blown clear off, but -- big surprise -- Finn and frequent sparring partner Randi Weingarten have gotten tight, real tight. The cause of this titanic shift? The Call for Common Content, which Finn and Weingarten both support (as do we).

Critics like Stotsky, Bill Evers, and other neo-cons have recently taken after the Call with an alarmist Closing the Door on Innovation. Their arguments stop just short of drawing a slippery slope between common content and One World Government, urging us to stick to the curriculum free-for-all at the local and state levels.

Here's what that free-for-all looked like to the many former teachers on NCTQ's staff: a problem when districts supplied appallingly poor, often scripted curriculums -- and a problem when they didn't supply any curriculum at all, leaving teachers to produce their own on kitchen tables late into the night. Sure, no one wants to rein in hard-charging districts or states, or handicap the wunderkind who are starting to innovate on the thinnest of margins of our education behemoths, but too many kids suffer from too much curriculum dreck to draw off the momentum now building to create a storehouse of high quality curriculum materials.