Closing the Door on Innovation

December 13, 2012 0 Comments

An oldie but a goodie! “Closing the Door on Innovation” was one of the first pieces in the current debate over national standards and a nationalized curriculum. For any one new to the debate, it is a good starting point to gain an understanding of the concerns regarding the common core initiative. Written in response to the Shanker Institutes Manifesto, “A Call for Common Content,” which hails the idea of a national curriculum, “Closing the Door on Innovation” warns against this initiative by stating, “the ongoing effort by the U.S. Department of Education to have two federally funded testing consortia develop national curriculum guidelines, national curriculum models, national instructional materials, and national assessments using Common Core’s national standards as a basis for these efforts.”

The document also decries the lack of innovation that happens in a vacuum of sameness and thereby enforces a mediocre status-quo. The authors claim, “such an approach threatens to close the door on educational innovation, freezing in place an unacceptable status quo and hindering efforts to develop academically rigorous curricula, assessments, and standards that meet the challenges that lie ahead.”

The idea that the common core standards, now adopted by 45 states, would be an adequate base for national standards is also objected to in their position, “the national standards on which the administration is planning to base a national curriculum are inadequate. If there are to be national academic-content standards, we do not agree that Common Core’s standards are clear, adequate, or of sufficient quality to warrant being this country’s national standards. Its definition of “college readiness” is below what is currently required to enter most four-year state colleges. Independent reviews have found its standards to be below those in the highest-performing countries and below those in states rated as having the best academic standards.”

“Closing the Door on Innovation” was signed by over 200 distinguished signatories. To read the full document and see the signatories who pledged their names to this idea please link at



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