Recently, Arne Duncan told folks at the American Council on Education Annual Meeting to get their minds right when it comes to National Standards.
I am hopeful because of the incredible progress in school districts, colleges and universities all across the country—developing new learning models—new educational approaches—and bringing new energy and ideas to the field of education...
...I am very excited about a $15 billion "Race to the Top" fund approved by the House. The Senate version is somewhat smaller but it is still significant.
The President is deeply committed to this program because it will enable us to spur reform on a national scale—driving school systems to adopt college and career-ready, internationally benchmarked standards...
...And the question is... What can we do together—not only to make college more accessible—but to boost our overall success rate?
We have to start by recognizing that our system of education is not aligned. Every state has different high school standards.
If we accomplish one thing in the coming years—it should be to eliminate the extreme variation in standards across America.
I know that talking about standards can make people nervous—but the notion that we have 50 different goal posts is absolutely ridiculous.
A high school diploma needs to mean something—no matter where it's from.
We need standards that are college-ready and career-ready, and benchmarked against challenging international standards.
Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers president, is pushing for national education standards as well, saying common, rigorous standards are the key to student success. The countries that rank higher in education than the U.S. have national standards and a unified approach to assessments, professional development and curriculum.
The long held assumption is that the federal government has no business meddling with education due to the Constitution's "reserve clause" - which reserves to the states issues not mentioned in the Constitution. Education is one such issue.
Others have more recently opined that federal intrusions into education are perhaps permissible in order to "promote the general welfare" of Americans.
So the feds should stay out - unless, of course, they bring lots of money to buy the state's affection. Then, we'll surrender the states rights to take the money and whatever comes with it.
Actually, NCLB would have been a much smarter bill if it had provided national standards, a national assessment, and accountability that took growth into consideration - but turned states loose to innovate and meet those standards the best way they knew how.
Hat Tip to Justin Bathon at EdJurist.