Rebranding Common Core: Is it really about 'copyright issues'? | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Rebranding Common Core: Is it really about 'copyright issues'?

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2015 at 11:12 AM

Gov. Asa Hutchinson yesterday sent a letter to the State Board of Education to formally submit the recommendations of his Council on Common Core Review, which concluded its work two weeks ago.

There's not much new here. The advice of the council, chaired by Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, was simply to have the Arkansas Department of Education conduct a thorough review of the standards. As a practical matter, that amounts to "stay the course," at least for the coming academic year. The recommendations did include some areas of concern for the Education Department to look into — among them, special ed testing and the age appropriateness of some of the standards for early grades — but only in the broadest terms.

Hutchinson does, however, choose to emphasize the idea of a name change for the standards. "I am instructing the ADE to examine any copyright issues with the Common Core State Standards. To avoid any issues, I would recommend the ADE proceed with a new name for the standards, if need be," he wrote.

Is copyright actually a concern? Common Core standards are protected from improper use under the terms of a public license. But remember, Common Core was always a horizontal initiative. The development of the standards came about through a collaboration between states, an agreement those member states entered into entirely voluntarily; there was no federal mandate. 

Here's a 2013 article from Indiana Public Media that explains further why copyright shouldn't be a legal issue when it comes to states making changes to Common Core.

that it threatens to undo the point of having a shared set of standards to begin with: That states are on the same page in terms of what they teach and how they measure it, broadly speaking. 

The more obvious reason for a name change is that "Common Core" is unpopular, especially in Tea Party circles. Consider Ted Cruz's promise yesterday at his address in Little Rock that he would "instruct the federal Department of Education — which should be abolished — that Common Core ends today."

Change the name and neuter the rallying cry. It's worth a shot, but will opponents of the standards buy it?

Here's the governor's letter, for the record: 

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