Neal McCluskey thinks that national standards are, if I may put words in his mouth, so much lipstick on a pig. My favourite part:
Finally, no matter how brilliant the draft standards, there is no reason to believe that they will drive meaningful educational improvement. Government schools will still be government schools, and the people employed by them will still have very little incentive to push kids to excellence, and every incentive to game the system to make the standards toothless.
He makes some very interesting points, and most of his ire seems to be aimed at national standards in particular. But to the extent that he argues against national standards on the basis that all students learn differently, it seems like he might be making an implicit (and possibly inadvertent) argument against fixed standards at any level of education — federal, state, district, or even school standards. I take it this isn’t what he wants to do… but it is an interesting thought nonetheless.
I mean, really… what if the idea of putting students in large groups to learn together is itself deeply mistaken? I don’t think it is, but I’ve been wrong about things before.