When President Obama meets today with the nation’s governors, he is expected to set out a plan for higher math and reading standards as a qualifier for Title 1 funds that go to schools with large numbers of low-income students. His statement will boost the national effort, led by the nation’s governors, including Gov. Sonny Perdue, for common core standards in the U.S. that meet the bar of international comparisons.
Clearer academic targets is a goal of the White House in overhauling the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which has been criticized for imposing vague standards and allowing states too much leeway in determining how to meet them. The complaint has been that the law became a race to the bottom rather than to the top because states could set their own standards.
In a statement, the White House said, “Because economic progress and educational achievement go hand in hand, educating every American student to graduate prepared for college and success in a new work force is a national imperative. Meeting this challenge requires that state standards reflect a level of teaching and learning needed for students to graduate ready for success in college and careers.”
According to The New York Times:
Since last year, 48 states have been collaborating to write common standards in math and reading, coordinated by the governors’ group and with the encouragement of the White House. Texas and Alaska decided not to participate in that state-led effort.
The common-standards effort has produced a draft, and earlier this month Kentucky became the first state to approve the substitution of the new standards for the state’s own standards in the two subjects.
How successful or quickly the governors, legislatures, state boards of education and other authorities in other states will be in agreeing on adoption of the new standards is not clear.
“In better aligning the law to support college- and career-ready standards,” the White House statement said, its proposed rewrite of the No Child Left Behind law would “require all states to adopt and certify that they have college- and career-ready standards which may include common standards developed by a state-led consortium, as a condition of qualifying for Title I funding.”
The four Democratic and Republican leaders of the House education committee announced last week that they were working together on the latest overhaul of the law.
In its 2011 budget request earlier this month, the White House said it hoped to replace the law’s much-criticized school rating system, known as adequate yearly progress, with a new accountability system.