His two objections? First, common standards sin against laws that prevent the Education Department from exercising "any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum” or “program of instruction" in any school or school system. Second, they threaten "diversity of thought." Neither of those dogs will hunt.
The charge that Common Standards are somehow illegal has been making the rounds for some time, and it has been pretty soundly refuted. It is states, and not the feds, that got together to create Common Standards. Yes, the feds have given states incentives to adopt the standards, but incentives are a far, far cry from "direction, supervision, and control." And let's not forget that standards aren't the same thing as curriculum. (See Checker Finn for a more thorough takedown of the illegality claim.)
The charge that common standards amounts to some sort of thought control is even more of a stretch. Standards provide a set of guideposts for what students should know and be able to do at different grade levels. They do not, by any stretch, control exactly what students should learn or how teachers should teach it. "Diversity of thought" will hardly perish.
But let's consider some other kinds of diversity we could do without. For example, there's diversity of quality. Reviews of state standards show that some states give poorer guidance than others on what students should should know and be able to do. There is also diversity of expectations. Some states set the bar for their students far lower than others do--at a time when global competition for skills is growing more intense. And let's not forget diversity of opportunity. Your child's chance at thriving in this competitive world shouldn't depend on where you live.
Don't worry. Diversity of thought will be safe. Common standards are an important step towards ending other, more unsavory diversities.