A topic that leads to great speechifying and chest beating in state legislatures is “national standards.” Georgia lawmakers practically sneer when they say the words. They don’t them them.
Why? Most Western European countries follow national curricula in their schools and chart their students’ progress through national testing. And those countries typically outscore the United States on achievement measures.
Yet we remain wary of national standards and tests, insisting that American parents can gauge their children’s skills through the hodgepodge of local standards and tests. Without national benchmarks, Georgia parents can’t compare their children’s performance with students in New York or Maryland. Yet their children will be competing with those kids for college slots and jobs.
The issue is now on the forefront since National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers released a public draft of the college- and career-readiness standards in English-language arts and mathematics for k-12
“This draft represents a significant, but early, step on the road toward the promise of common standards for our nation. ..Over time, assessments and instructional materials aligned to the new standards will need to be developed to yield real and meaningful improvement in the classroom experience,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia
The PTA also endorses the plan. “Geographic or socio-economic factors should not dictate the level of education that all students are entitled to receive. The great benefit of the standards is that they will ensure a level playing field among states, school districts and schools that will give all students the opportunity to be ready for their college and career,” said Charles J. “Chuck” Saylors, National PTA president.
Are we finally ready for national standards?