In most cases, the knowledge required to reach the "proficient" level on state tests was comparable to the "basic" level on NAEP.
She says this may provide fuel for a movement toward "national standards" and a national test, which she argues against. She says national standards are the wrong way to go because it goes against more than two centuries of American educational tradition.
Dictates from bureaucrats? Is she speaking of herself?
Under the Constitution, states and localities have the primary leadership role in public education. They design the curriculum and pay 90 percent of the bills. Neighborhood schools deserve neighborhood leadership, not dictates from bureaucrats thousands of miles away.
It is more than a little ironic that while presiding over the federal government's largest intrusion into the field of education, Spelling argues state primacy is the right way to go!
"The president's plan to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act calls on states to post their scores side-by-side with the NAEP results. This would increase transparency and drive up the political will to raise state standards," Spellings claims.
While she opposes the imposition of national standards, she applauds state's efforts to construct them from the bottom up. She praises states like Kentucky that are,
"...aligning high school coursework with college and employer expectations. Many have adopted a core curriculum of four years of English and three years each of math and science. Recently, nine states announced a common Algebra II assessment, the largest such effort ever undertaken."
During the past few years, KDE has been engaged in the process of revising state standards for mathematics (and other content areas). As KDE looked at the Program of Studies for Kentucky Schools and the Core Content for Assessment, it incorporated national standards such as those from the National Council for Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). At the same time, Kentucky was involved in the American Diploma Project, and used the benchmarks for mathematics that came out of that work as part of the revision process. The standards revisions were finalized in 2006.
But KDE does not see this as a move toward national standards.
According to Kentucky education officials Lisa Gross and Michael Miller, Kentucky's involvement in Achieve's Algebra II project is intended to meet the Kentucky mandate (under KRS 158.860) for an end-of-course exam in Algebra II "to be available and piloted in selected school districts no later than the end of the 2007-2008 school year."
While it is a multi-state project (nine states), the intent in Kentucky is not related to the national conversation around a potential move toward a standard national curriculum.
Gross acknowledges news reports about the Achieve Inc., project that have alluded to this notion, and that it may very well be part of Achieve's agenda in this work.
But KDE maintains that the Kentucky standards for mathematics in the Program of Studies for Kentucky Schools and the Core Content for Assessment are for use by local Kentucky schools as they develop their curricula.