The push for Common Core Standards has taken hits from the right and the left. True, the two sides have different problems with the standards-and-tests package, but the attacks from both sides are having an effect. Poor AZ Ed Supe John Huppenthal has been taking a beating from right wingers during town halls he's held across the state (OK, to be honest, I do feel a few spoonfuls of empathy for Hupp, but they're mixed together with a heaping helping of schadenfreude). And Obama's Ed Sec Arne Duncan has taken a thrashing as well.
Huppenthal hasn't budged, other than to change the name to Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards, which has fooled absolutely no one. But Duncan is beginning to buckle.
Tuesday, Duncan sat in front of the House appropriations subcommittee to defend the education grants which are part of the 2015 budget. Here's what he said related to Common Core.
"I'm just a big proponent of high standards. Whether they're common or not is secondary."
For those of us who read education/political tea leaves, Duncan's retreat from the word "common" in his discussion of "standards" is huge. It sounds like a first step toward a national policy advocating a more voluntary application of the newly designed standards.