So how does America compete in the global marketplace when its students are performing at about the same level—or worse—as former Soviet bloc nations on international tests? One possible answer getting a lot of play nationally is Common Core State Standards. Led by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, experts from across the country came together the past two years to develop a common set of standards in mathematics and English language arts. Although common core standards were attempted at the federal level in the 1990s and failed, this project is led by the states. Forty-eight states (all except for Alaska and Texas) and Washington, D.C., signed on to work on the standards; so far, 35 states and Washington, D.C., have adopted them.