We’ve been writing about Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday’s recently posted blog item about:
“…a lot of misinformation being pushed by folks who are not supportive of more rigorous standards for students….”
I’ve already posted two blogs under the “What’s the Real CCSS Story” title with a discussion about why it is wrong to say those against Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are against better education and a discussion about who really created those standards.
Now, I want to discuss Dr. Holliday’s assertion that:
“Another myth that seems to be circulating is that the standards were developed in secret.”
Unfortunately, the CCSS were indeed developed in a mostly secret process. There is no myth here.
To begin, two non-governmental organizations, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA), created the CCSS. As private organizations, neither group is subject to any routine governmental transparency requirements such as open meeting laws or open records requests.
There was no legal requirement for the NGA/CCSSO’s CCSS development process to maintain publicly available meeting minutes or any other records subject to public access.
The real work of assembling the CCSS was conducted in “work groups.” I guess the commissioner never saw this 2009 press release from the NGA which clearly states:
“The Work Group’s deliberations will be confidential throughout the process.”
Thus, the real CCSS work was intentionally conducted under a “confidential” process. The people running the show admit that in their own press release. By the way, my print edition of Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus, © 2006, lists “secret” as a definition for “confidential.” This on line Merriam-Webster resource echoes that definition.
The facts are that the only public activity during the NGA/CCSSO’s CCSS creation process included a few, limited, public comment periods.
However the CCSS work groups acted upon those public comments in secret. There is no way to know if the public’s inputs ever got any serious consideration. Were the public’s comments accepted or rejected in an intelligently conducted, unbiased manner? Who knows?
Now, if Kentucky’s new standards had been developed here in Kentucky by groups working under the direction of the Kentucky Department of Education and the Council of Postsecondary Education – as Senate Bill 1 from the 2009 Regular Legislative Session called for – the process would have been subject to Kentucky’s governmental transparency laws. Meetings of Kentucky-run working groups would have been open to the public, and Kentucky-run work group meeting minutes would be available under the state’s open records laws.
None of that routine public transparency was available in the NGA/CCSSO process.
In summation, compared to the transparency required for governmental meetings and records availability, the CCSS effort was most definitely conducted largely in secret. Even the NGA’s own press release says so.