Another state has had second thoughts about Common Core and this particular state is images-1a key one.  Brittany Corona in a Heritage Foundation blogpost writes that the Massachusetts State Board of Education has voted to delay the implementation of Common Core for two years.

Why is Massachusetts so key?  Massachusetts has been a leader in education for the past 20 years due to state reforms that were implemented in the early 1990’s.  The reforms entailed a rewriting of the state education standards and a new state assessment system known as MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System).

The reforms worked.  Corona tells us that ten years later, 90% of students passed the MCAS tests and SAT scores increased for 13 straight years.  Today students in Massachusetts lead the nation in math and reading proficiency and not by a little – 4th and 8th grade students exceed the national average by almost 10 percentage points.

So it was strange when Massachusetts decided to throw away their demonstrably successful standards and state tests in favor of the Common Core Standards and PARCC tests (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) that are aligned with Common Core.  Perhaps the federal Race to the Top grant money that bind states to Common Core had something to do with it.

In any case, like a bride groom with second thoughts, Massachusetts is beginning to get cold feet and does not want to become wedded to the Common Core Standards so soon.  Corona explains that Massachusetts will take some time and compare the PARCC tests to the MCAS exams before switching over.

And well it should.  Massachusetts throwing out its education standards would be akin to Michael Jordan adopting a federally approved jump shot back in the day.

The education success story in Massachusetts is what our federal system of government is all about.  Instead of Massachusetts throwing out its tried and true standards for some untested, one-size fits all formula, the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) which are credited with writing Common Core, should look at what Massachusetts has done and customize it for their own states.

What other country in the world has the opportunity to learn from 50 separate sovereign incubators and then mix and match, pick and choose until the right formula is achieved?

Ms. Corona points out that Massachusetts is the 15th state that has pressed the pause button on Common Core implementation or has introduced legislation to halt the standards altogether.

In Ohio, the Common Core repeal bill, HB 237, sits in the House Education Committee awaiting a vote.  Committee members should take note of what the state which leads the nation in education is doing when it comes to Common Core.

There is a game children used to play on the playground called “Follow the Leader”.   Massachusetts needs to stick to its game plan so that it can remain the leader.  The rest of us need to get in line or develop what works best for our own states –  not make a mad dash to some common middle.

Read Brittany Corona’s blogpost, “More Cracks in the Core:  Massachusetts Halts Common Core Implementation” here.