The move to local control under the state’s new funding and accountability system has given school districts much leeway in adopting the Common Core State Standards, the challenging math and English language arts standards that California and 41 other states and Washington, D.C., have adopted. And that flexibility, concludes a new report by researchers from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education, has the potential to create disparities in implementation the state should reduce.
“In California’s newly decentralized policy system the main responsibility for addressing many of these issues falls to local educators, but our research makes it clear that the capacity to address them successfully is sorely lacking in many parts of the state,” the report states. Local control, it says, cannot take the place of a stronger state role.
The 16-page report, “Implementing Common Core State Standards in California: A Report from the Field,” was based on discussions with educators in three dozen districts and county offices of education, four charter school organizations and two education organizations. Its principal author is Milbrey McLaughlin, the founding director of the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities and an education policy professor at Stanford.