HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Westlawn Middle School principal Lynette Alexander got a rare opportunity to pose a question to Education Secretary Arne Duncan during his appearance on "CBS This Morning" Tuesday.
Duncan concentrated his appearance on "CBS This Morning" on the fact that the development of Common Core standards was a state-led initiative, and that they are just standards. Duncan told watchers that curriculum, or how the standards are taught, is determined at the local level.
Asking her question via Skype, Alexander asked Duncan how the U.S. Department of Education would ensure that school districts' standards-based curriculum would serve as an "equalizer" to all students--particularly the disadvantaged.
"First of all, we can't touch curriculum at our levels. Again, that is done at the local level. But encouraging states to have high standards, we think, is the right thing to do," Duncan answered. "And we know, when standards get dummied down, it's not the elite kids, it's not the advantaged kids, who get hit. It's the more disadvantaged kids that always get hurt when things get reduced.
"And so fighting against that, driving an agenda around both equity and excellence, we think is hugely important," he added.
Duncan told "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose, "Of course teaching isn't 'one-size-fits-all,' and I think the goal is to help every child be successful, work on their strengths, where they're having challenges, help them there. But we need to have a high bar...Historically, many states dummied down standards. They reduced standards, why? To make politicians look good. And that's terrible for children, it's terrible for education, it's terrible for our country and for our country's economy.
The video above has the full segment from "CBS This Morning." Alexander's question begins around the 3:40 mark.