Archive forMarch, 2010

A few questions about national standards

So now it seems we are moving towards national standards.  As far as I can tell, the argument for national standards is that standards are set at different levels in different states and that agreeing on one common set of standards would improve our schools.  From the NY Times this week:

“In recent years, many states moved in the opposite direction, lowering standards to make it easier for students to pass tests and for schools to avoid penalties under the 2002 federal No Child Left Behind law.

After educators, business executives and others criticized the corrosive impact of a race to the bottom, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers set the common-standards initiative in motion last year.”

We currently have 50 states with 50 sets of standards complete with accountability systems.   A few questions:

Can somebody point to a state where the standards and accompanying standardized testing regime has led to improved schools?

If such a state exists, why don’t we merely adopt that system at a national level?  Shouldn’t we scale up what works?

If, as I strongly suspect, such a state does not exist, why will that which has not worked at the state level magically start working at a national level?

I am not trying to be sarcastic.  I do not, a priori, think national standards would be any worse than state standards.   If anyone could answer any of these questions, I would really like to understand the argument.  Please comment below.

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