Something in Common

Something in Common The Common Core Standards and the Next Chapter in American Education

Robert Rothman, foreword by Governor James B. Hunt, Jr.
Pub. Date: October 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-451-3
paper, 232 Pages
Pub. Date: October 2011
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-107-9
Price: $30.00

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Something in Common is the first book to provide a detailed look at the groundbreaking Common Core State Standards and their potential to transform American education.


Bob Rothman has written a thorough, detailed policy and political history of the standards movement, beginning with its origins and following right up to its apogee in the Common Core standards and then through to the early stages of national assessment development. More than a history, though, this book provides thoughtful analysis, appropriate cautions, and some well-considered advice on how this new era of standards may shape the future of U.S. public education. — Paul Reville, secretary of education, Commonwealth of Massachusetts

In Rothman’s clear-eyed telling, the decades-long history of national standards in American public education is a compelling narrative filled with characters, philosophical debates, and insightful observations. We learn about why previous chapters in the standards movement did not produce the hoped-for gains and the hard work that must be done if the national Common Core standards are to guide classroom instruction and deepen student learning. Ultimately, Rothman is cautiously optimistic that, this time, standards will make a difference. — Richard Lee Colvin, executive director, Education Sector

Something in Common is a comprehensive and timely story of the background and development of Common Core standards in America. I highly recommend this as a must-read for educators and others who want to develop a very good understanding of the new ‘common core,’ what is necessary for successful implementation, and the potential impact on the future of public education in America. — Jesse B. Register, superintendent, Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools

The book is a rich resource for readers of all backgrounds because Rothman weaves the historic and academic details in a manner that makes the text readable and relevant for parents, teachers, and researchers. — Mary Elizabeth Matthews, Journal of Education

The book is a must-have reference work for researchers, practitioners, school leaders, policy makers, and others interested in contemporary education policy and reform. — Michael Keany, School Leadership 2.0

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About the Author

Robert Rothman is a senior fellow at the Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington, D.C.–based policy and advocacy organization. Previously, he was a senior editor at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform where he edited the Institute’s quarterly magazine, Voices in Urban Education. He was also a study director at the National Research Council, where he led a committee on testing and assessment in the federal Title I program, which produced the report Testing, Teaching, and Learning (edited with Richard F. Elmore) and a committee on teacher testing. A nationally known education writer and editor, Mr. Rothman has also worked with Achieve and the National Center on Education and the Economy, and was a reporter and editor for Education Week. He has written numerous reports and articles on a wide range of education issues, and he is the editor of City Schools (2007) and author of Measuring Up: Standards, Assessments and School Reform (1995). He is also a frequent contributor to Harvard Education Letter. He has a degree in political science from Yale University.