Perils on the path to national standards

Do national standards have a chance? Prospects have rise from none to slim, writes guest columnist Kevin Kosar on This Week in Education. H.R. 325, a bill to create national standards, would require voluntary standards in math and science linked to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

However, the proposed implementation grants are measly compared to the mandates, writes Kosar. Furthermore, the bill gives the federal government unprecedented authority over curriculum, which will raise fears of politicization.

H.R. 325 wisely steers clear of the most politicized parts of the curricula, health/sex education, history, and English. Science, though, may be a problem.

What happens if religious-right groups push for including creationism?

National standards could raise expectations for students in states that are meeting No Child Left Behind by defining “proficient” as “has a pulse.” But it’s so easy to do standards badly.

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Comments

  1. We are walking along the abyss of total federal gov. take over of education with the inherent undercurrent of “free market” education not far behind.
    As an NBCT http://www.nbpts.org I had to do all of my entries based on national standards. THese standards have been drawn down through our state standards by a very effective state board of education here in Virginia.

    THe standards don’t scare me, it is how we need to show we have met them that scares me.

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Whose bread I eat, his song I sing.

  3. john h wrote:

    We are walking along the abyss of total federal gov. take over of education with the inherent undercurrent of “free market” education not far behind.

    How does a total federal take over of the public education system result in – hide the children and the livestock – a free market? They seem like mutually exclusive propositions.

  4. Maybe John H meant that, given the record of the feds in other areas as well as in education, more federal intervention will result in public schools so bad that no one will send their children there – so it’s back to the “private school” free market.

  5. wayne martin says:

    > How does a total federal take over of the public education
    > system result in – hide the children and the livestock – a free
    > market? They seem like
    > mutually exclusive propositions.

    Except to the “true believers”. This theme can be found in many of the anti-NCLB diatribes which float around from time-to-time. The thinking seems to be that by raising the performance bar too high, this sets the stage for schools to fail, which will result in Federal takeover followed by transfer of the schools to the hated “private sector”.

    Any school that wants to be free of NCLB need only free itself of Federal money. A small number of states have declined Federal money for education, and the world didn’t end in those states.

  6. What I meant is I have been studying NCLB and the history of the ESEA, writing and reading extensively on the subject. I know NCLB will not go away. I think it is potentially the best thing that ever happend to the American Education system. But, in a recent report by the National Association on Education and the Economy http://www.skillscommission.org/ there was a huge difference between the skills the workforce will need (creativity and innovation among them) and what TESTED National Standards could accomplish.

    The free-market issue is that when anything is run solely as a business then the focus shifts from the product to the dollar. How can we do it better becomes more efficiently, becomes cheaper. So if my school doesn’t pass the National standards it will be taken over and given to the business world to run. I have seen this done well and poorly, depending on what the businsess sees as its’ product. Is the product a test score or a student?

  7. wayne martin says:

    > The free-market issue is that when anything is run solely as
    > a business then the focus shifts from the product to the
    > dollar.

    Actually, businesses only work because they think dollars. When they become more “process” oriented, they soon fail unlike the public school system which just gets more expensive.

    > How can we do it better becomes more efficiently,
    > becomes cheaper.

    And this is wrong because? Better product design and manufacturing ultimately saves money for the customer, who will buy more product.

    > So if my school doesn’t pass the National standards it will
    > be taken over and given to the business world to run.

    This is the union-driven claims. Given that there are over 94,000 schools in America, the idea that all of these schools could be taken over and given to a private company is simply ludicrous.

    > Is the product a test score or a student?

    The product is a student, characterized by a test score.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Indeed, and those would be the same stooges who thought this was a good idea. Let’s look at this commentary by Joanne Jacobs (emphasis mine): Do national standards have a chance? Prospects have rise from none to slim, writes guest columnist Kevin Kosar on This Week in Education. H.R. 325, a bill to create national standards, would require voluntary standards in math and science linked to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). […]