WILMINGTON, Del. -- Delaware Gov. Jack Markell joined former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas on Monday to express their support for the new Common Core academic standards and the need to counter what they said was "misinformation" about the education program.
Markell, a Democrat, and Douglas, a Republican, met with students at Lancashire Elementary School before addressing what Markell described as "misinformation and mythology" about the education improvement effort.
The standards are being implemented in 45 states and the District of Columbia to try to make sure students across the country are subjected to uniform achievement expectations in math and English, and that they are able to think critically, not just memorize what they are told.
"We want to have some consistency around the country... We didn't want the federal government to tell us what to do," said Douglas, speaking on behalf of the Governors Council of the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C., think tank.
The standards were developed by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, with help from teachers, parents and academic experts.
But Common Core has drawn criticism, particularly from conservatives who believe it is a costly intrusion by the federal government into public education. Some have derided it as "Obamacore."
"They've politicized the push for higher standards," Markell said.
Other critics, including liberals, have expressed concern about tests that will be used to determine whether students are meeting the Common Core standards. Supporters have already warned that tests scores likely will be lower for many students because of the tougher standards.
"We think a dose of honesty is in order," Markell said.
Markell and Douglas said one key misunderstanding they want to counter is that the standards were developed by the federal government.
"These were decisions that were made by states ... with lots of input from teachers and principals and the like," Markell said.
Cheryl Oldham, vice president for education policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, joined Douglas and Markell to reinforce the chamber's support for Common Core.
"The chamber stands ready to be supportive and talk about this," she said.