Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have agreed to work on common K-12 standards. The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers have taken the lead.
When students get their high school diplomas, the coalition says, they should be ready to tackle college or a job. The benchmarks would be “internationally competitive.”
Once the organizers of the effort agree to a proposal, each state would decide individually whether to adopt it.
I’m with Flypaper, which compared states’ signing on to standards to people joining a health club in January. We don’t know yet who’s committed and who’s not.
Creating national standards is like making sausage, writes Jay Greene. Only harder to do well.
. . . when everyone gets into the sausage-making that characterizes policy formulation, it generally becomes clear that no one is going to get what they want out of national standards. What’s worse is that the resulting mess would be imposed on everyone. There’d be no more laboratory of the states, just uniform banality.
Of course, some people always hope that they’ll somehow manage to sneak their preferred vision into place without having to go through the meat grinder. That’s what is happening now with the National Governor’s Association effort at “voluntary” national standards. In a process completely lacking in transparency and open-debate, some are rushing to announce a national standards fait accompli.
He quotes Sandra Stotsky, who worries that the standards development process is not transparent, and Sandy Kress, who warns in an Eduwonk comment that states will get a lot less enthusiastic about standards when they realize how incredibly hard it is to agree on something decent.