[Please forgive my posting hiatus for the month of March. I have spent all my writing energies meeting publisher deadlines for a book I’m writing for Corwin Press. I’ll be absent in May for the same reason; thank you in advance for your understanding.]
Is it just me or are there other readers out there who think it’s crazy that we as a country don’t have National Standards? I haven’t had the time to do proper research on the topic, but I’m willing to bet that, of the top 20 first-world countries (you know, the ones who kick our butt every year on NAEP assessments), we must be the only one (or the only one of a handful) who don’t have National Standards.
Instead, we pass national laws requiring states to track student proficiency (NCLB) and then say ‘but we’ll give individual states the control over what their standards will be and how they’ll measure whether or not kids meet those standards’ – all in order to be compliant with the national NCLB laws. What a screwy system. The whole individual states can decide for themselves what’s best for them notion is a bunch of crap. Wake up States! The world is flat. We’re not competing with other counties in our state, or even with other states. We’re competing with the world – India and China, most specifically – and doggone it, we’re slowly losing.
Forget the political appeal of state autonomy. We need a National Curriculum accompanied by a set of National Standards and a system of accountability for every state to meet those Standards. I haven’t seen the previews of Arne Duncan’s revised NCLB but I sure hope it includes National Standards. The world is flat and it’s getting flatter. Our states need to be consistent in what we mean by student proficiency in math, English and other subjects. Our future to be a competitive force in a flat world may well depend on it. dven.