Massachusetts students, educators and taxpayers went into the Fourth of July weekend with much to celebrate about the future of K-12 education in their state. That's right, the Supreme Judicial Court, in a
unanimous decision, ruled that a referendum on the Common Core State Standards cannot appear on the ballot in November because it does not meet the requirement that all elements of a ballot question be “related or mutually dependent.”
"At the operational level, this petition joins a proposed policy of rejecting a particular set of curriculum standards, common core, with a proposed policy of increasing transparency in the standardized testing process at what is likely to be a greatly increased cost, regardless of the content of the curriculum standards used," the justices wrote. "These are two separate public policy issues." (
A dodged bullet indeed.
A Perfect Storm
The ballot initiative came out of a backlash over Common Core, perhaps one of the most misunderstood education initiatives of our time. Add to that the cauldron of misinformation that defines a presidential campaign (especially this one!) and we had a perfect storm that could have led to the undoing of six years of tireless work by teachers, the investment of many millions of dollars, and a set of academic standards that are working for students.
“This is a huge win for education,” said Linda Noonan, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, which has strongly backed Common Core. “This was from the start an unnecessary and potentially very costly drain of resources. Educators have spent almost six years working on and implementing the standards. The financial costs of repealing them would have been hundreds of millions of dollars that would have hit every city and town.” (
While many were perfectly happy with Massachusetts education before Common Core, we know that far too many students aren't getting what they need to be prepared for college and/or a career. High college remediation
rates and huge
achievement gaps are evidence that despite its number one status when it comes to education, the Bay State has work to do in preparing all of its students for their futures after graduation. Fortunately, Common Core state standards are designed to do just that.
Erika Sanzi is a mother of three sons and taught in public schools in Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island. She has served on her local school board in Cumberland, Rhode Island, advocated for fair school funding at the state level, and worked on campaigns of candidates she considers to be champions for kids and true supporters of great schools. She is currently a Fordham senior visiting ...