The New York Times Room For Debate asked me if I would weigh in on the following question:
The Common Core State Standards, adopted by 48 states and supported by the Obama administration, have worried liberals who question their quality and conservatives who fear they erode states’ traditional responsibility for education. At the same time, the budget pressure of the impending “fiscal cliff” could reduce federal support for education, which would add to the state and local responsibility.
As these trends collide, Americans can take a step back and ask: Should education standards and funding vary by state?
This gave me the opportunity to talk about an issue that too often goes un-talked about in the current education debate – inequitable education funding. Little did I know I would be debating the question online with folks like Pedro Noguero, Jeb Bush and Rick Hess. Here was the start of my response:
The Common Core standards are the latest federal educational initiative, making the argument that creating national standards will somehow raise achievement nationwide while ignoring what is a far more important state-to-state and district-to-district variability: funding.
Disparate funding levels in the United States are the single most anti-democratic policy in our society. Where children live should not have bearing on how much money is spent on their education. And the variability in funding levels is deep and profound.
The rest is over at The New York Times, please go give it a read. (And wow… the New York Times. I’m kind of really excited. Really, really excited.)