Panel Proposes Single Standard for All Schools

The new standards, which experts said could well be adopted by a majority of states, would replace the nation’s checkerboard of locally written standards.

Comments: 125

  1. And, then kill the two teachers unions - AFT and NEA! That will solve the rest of the problem.

  2. One huge plus to national standards would be the diminution of Texas' influence on text book content.

  3. For those interested, here's a link to the standards. http://www.corestandards.org...

    Not that impressive really (at least for middle school writing). Looks like their idea of scaffolding is adding adjectives like 'purposefully' and 'effectively' to standards from a lower grade.

  4. This sounds great doesn't it. Here's the problem. Life is dynamic. Things change. With lots of different approaches changing all the time you find the formula that produces the best result. What are the chances that the all knowing federal government is going to pick the correct educational formula and adjust it perfectly over time.

    Reagan warned against such foolishness but we are getting sucked into a progressive nightmare.

  5. I support this. We don't live in a regional world of local needs anymore: We live in a global world, in which your lunch might easily be eaten by better-educated people 11 time zones away. The 3 R's had a good run but now it's time for something completely different.

  6. Here we go again... think of a factory that assembles TV's They come out of the factory and the majority don't work. So lets change the assembly line. And what happens? they still don't work. Why ? Because its not the process that's broken, its the raw materials. until you change the role parents play in education, and change how society values education, those TV's still wont work

  7. It's worthwhile to note that independent of any federal action, we've been moving toward more de facto national standards in education for many decades now: The SATs, the ACT, the Advanced Placement Exams, etc.

  8. Here's how to fix the eduction system overnight.

    Figure out what it trully costs to educate a child. This number is easily determined by evaluating functioning private schools. Our Catholic private school spends about $10,000 in the Los Angeles area.

    Once you have that number you need to know the number of kids. Multiply the two numbera and you have a budget. Then sell off all the public school facilities to the highest bidder and hand parents a voucher for the cost determined.

    Instantly things start to correct. Teacher Unions lose power. Politicians lose power. Parents and childre gain power. Why??

    BECAUSE MONEY IS POWER AND THE TEACHER AND POLITICIANS DON'T WANT TO GIVE IT UP.

  9. Let's sell Alaska back to Russia and Texas back to Mexico. I admit I'll miss Austin (fish tacos and SXSW) but one nice city does not a worthwhile state make.

  10. The state of Arizona should take a good look at this and make the shift to bringing itself out from having one of the worst known education systems in the U.S....at the very least would be a start.

  11. It's a shame they didn't adapt a Civics requirement. Knowing more about how government works might save future generations from the influence of gasbag demagogues like Beck, Limbaugh and Rick Perry.

  12. To bmcpool (#3): I can't resist pointing this out given the context. 'Purposefully' and 'effectively' are adverbs.

  13. I'm for this, but only up to a point. In the last 15-20 years I have watched the Virginia Standards of Learning sap the creativity and energy out of far too many teachers. I no longer see kids coming in to the library on a regular basis for special projects--too much time spent cramming them to pass the tests. I have seen my own daughter struggle and fail in math for several years because she was having to learn too much too fast--skills I learned in middle school being taught in 4th or 5th grade! She's over that now, but it was a bitter struggle and did not have to be.

    Worst of all "teaching to the test" has become so vital that creative THINKING SKILLS, the hallmark of American ingenuity have been dumped in exchange for Japanese style rote learning. Our kids are not learning to ask "why" and to find their own answers.

    I'm not surprised that Texas would opt out of this. From everything we've seen from the state in recent years "ignorance is bliss" is their by-word and they seem pretty durned blissful!

  14. Rumor has it that NYC will be required to match Iowa standards.......

  15. The federal government works at the level of the lowest common denominator. In contrast, local control is often the finest tuned control. Throw in Obama and the teacher's unions and you have the beginings of the total loss of parental influence. This sounds like a dictatorship with Obama as the Feurer. No thanks, to put it mildly.

  16. Adoptive Father, get a grip. It's still up to the schools to design their own curriculum; the goal is to set a reasonable baseline for education. It's ridiculous that college students fail to grasp basic ratios, yet that is exactly what my boyfriend, who's a math TA at a public university, is currently teaching.

    We should absolutely hold schools to universal standards in at least mathematics, where the subjects are concrete and expectations are easy to dictate (not to mention unlikely to change greatly over the years), and reading comprehension, which is invaluable to the entirety of a student's education. Plus, none of these criteria go into the grit of the subjects. They all pertain to the general levels of understanding a student should have at given points, none of which seem unreasonable or insufficient.

    Really, save your panic for a real disaster.

  17. For a start, expand the length of the school day. Make it the same as a work day. Also make the school year longer. In Florida the school year is 180 days, and students don't go a month without some day off. If we treated school seriously, there would be a lot less free time and more studying time.

  18. Its instructive to see that people are reflexively criticizing the federal government in these comments. The article makes it clear that these standards were created by "a panel of educators convened by the nation’s governors and state school superintendents." It doesn't mention the federal government at all.

  19. Did I miss it?

    Will there be emphasis on the correct use of grammar?
    Spelling? Basic math skills? Are there standards for students to learn to add, subtract, multiply, divide? (SANS computers reliance).

    But, learning the difference between prose and drama as one of the important criteria? C'mon!

  20. The Obama administration's intent is to privatize public schools, destroy teacher unions, and make charter schools the only "show" in town. Here's neoliberalism at work!

  21. The Good Hair Governor strikes again! As a product of Texas public schools, I support these reforms. Unfortunately, I don't think things will change any time soon because this anti-everything-not-Texas is growing stronger sadly.

  22. National education standards do not work in a federal republic.

    Our strength as a country is local innovation and experimentation. What works then is adopted in other places - and we advance.

    National standards will kill our innovation and mire our education system in its current pathetic state. The worst time to nationalize is when things are terrible because change comes so slow at the national level.

    Let local people decide their own way of life. It's the most liberal and it's the best way.

  23. in order for our country's childrens' test results to be truly comparable to those of other countries' we need national standards and curriculum. it's time to work together as a nation to help children throughout our country, especially in appalachia, the south, on the reservations and in urban regions, to truly claim that we are the UNITED states. it's time for the caste system of education in this country to be abolished.

  24. A good education is still possible in spite of educators' carefully determining isolating sanitizing and narrowing the focus on what is by nature a broad and integrated subject matter. To do this, the student must seek and make use of textbooks (and other books) that are still managing to meaningfully develop the subject matter toward the comprehension and understanding that is due to what is of itself amazingly enlightening subject matter to the human person and mind. Students have to challenge themselves to make "mince meat" of whatever educators prescrbe to be testable basic and minimal. Some teachers will treasure the student's efforts and accomplishments and provide encouragement Others will see challenges to the control inherent in their professonalism and offer resentment and resistance.

  25. If American high schools today were like Brooklyn's Erasmus High in the early 1960s, we wouldn't need national standards. (And there were Erasmus-like public educations to be had from Alaska to Mississippi.) Today middle schools and high schools are so dumbed down that national criteria are long overdue. There's so little rigor for the average American student who is not in honors or AP classes. The grading system now is a joke: 15% of the students in my high school today make the Honor Roll as opposed to 4% when I attended the school decades ago. (I've done the math, comparing hometown newspaper listings for my southern high school.) And U.S. students once did quite well among those in industrialized countries--now they're near the bottom in international rankings. We have a big problem, folks, and it's a national disgrace.

  26. In the 1850s Horace Mann tried to set standards for Massachusetts. Today many of them sound comical. Japan has had national standards for half a century and may have done well with them at first, but now the country lacks innovation and drive. The main problem will not be the content of proposed standards but their proposed uniformity.

    Once one gets past the first few years in elementary school, where there tends to be broad agreement on building basic skills, standards will pick and choose content, trying to guess what students will actually need many years in the future. No one has a crystal ball, and so most of the choices will turn out to be wrong, a waste of time, just as they have been with past efforts of this type.

    Making the content of education uniform insures the same wrong choices for everybody. The traditional approach of distributing responsibility to local school boards and teachers results in a wide variety of choices and means that at least some students will benefit from what turn out to be the right choices.

  27. Education going from the States to the Union-level reminds me of the question: is it in the nature of power to coalesce or consolidate? (see http://euandus3.wordpress.com/2009/10/25/on-the-nature-of-power/)
    Some people no doubt view federalism is getting in the way of things getting done. I submit that the loss of federalism (as in the US gov't taking over education, for ex) is a recipe for abuse of power (as federalism is a check on power). On the criticisms and my responses, pls see http://euandus3.wordpress.com...

  28. Setting standards & goals for schools is useful but the process seems to have ignored the most important variable in any child's education. The influence of parents by sending their children to school motivated and ready to learn hasn't been addressed in this report. In study after study, the difference between kids who do or don't succeed is family influence. That's why Asian kids, whose families generally emphasize education, mostly do well in school. In contrast, too many black and Hispanic families send their children to school unmotivated to learn.

    If you don't believe me, ask teachers who try to teach in failing schools.

    This report has the same problem most other studies sponsored by government. Politicians seldom, if ever, are willing to tell parents that they are not doing their part. The reason they don't address this key issue is simple: parents are also voters and no politician is brave enough to tell constituents that they are the problem. Until they do so, too many children and schools will continue to fail.

  29. This is the right move! (And thank you, Rick Perry, for keeping your nose out.)

  30. ...these are MINIMUM standards...things our children must know in order to succeed today. Many states and districts do not even meet these suggestions. You have to start some place. School districts and states can always do more.

  31. Sounds like a boon to the textbook industry, but not likely to have any real impact until the nation can somehow convince all parents to have an interest in their children's education.

  32. Not surprising that educators have not addressed a standard for the outrageous taxes they levy allowing many to retire as millionaires for less than half a year's work (180/365 is less than half) taking advantage of such things as longer life spans making people pay too much in school taxes now sometimes approaching paying school taxes for 60 or 70 years or more, double taxing the 5% of people who have second homes where they are taxed but cannot even vote much less have no kids in those schools, and only about half the population in their primary residence even has a child of school age in the first place. What is wrong with the economy? It is the public sector and their pensions and benefits stupid!

  33. If Alaska and Texas are against it, it must be the right way to go.
    Math and reading are really the only standard we need to adapt. After that English, history and science should be promoted by using the skills of reading and math.

  34. Here we go...Lemmings off a cliff.

    There are a million different educations for a million different children and throwing facts at them to see how many stick long enough for the next test is NOT education, no matter what you say. And to standardize what facts will be put into each bottle going down the school assembly line is foolish beyond description. Each kid being taught the same thing at the same age and expecting the same results is the acme of idiocy. No two children are the same.

    When we help each child to think, debate, discuss, ask questions, find his or her own answers, research, socialize with people of all ages and find their own passions and interests, we will have truly educated them. People think that's somehow weak and "liberal lefty progressive" but it's the hardest thing to do and do well. Throwing disconnected facts at kids and hoping some stick so they can be passed on to the "Future Workforce of America" and calling them educated? That's easy...and lazy...and dishonest.

  35. National standards are appealing but may be flawed due to the diversity inherent in our country. Attacks on teachers and their unions will backfire - who will go into teaching if teachers are to be blamed for social problems beyond their control, which are the root causes of educational problems?

  36. You will note that the two states that have declined to participate in the formulation of these standards, Alaska and Texas, are the two states furthest away from Washington, DC as is possible, in the north-south context.

    To say, as the Texas governor Rick Perry did, that "Only Texans should decide what students there learn" is just so Texan, and 21st Century isn't it? Perhaps that is why Texas falls more and more behind in just about everything and has become the proverbial joke about insularity, poor governance, poor education systems and public ignorance.

    H.G. Wells said it all: “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.”

  37. "Motley current checkerboard of locally written standards": The Times has a problem with that?...Well, that is what is called "Self Government" - somthing to be celebrated, not derided.

  38. If this is the case, why are we not requiring people who come to OUR country (legal & illegal) to be proficient in English at the level of school they are entering? Why are we having less for our children and more is spent to teach people who should already know English?

    Assimilate and quit wasting my tax dollars on your irresponsibility.

  39. Amen, and a hallelujah.

  40. "Vertical alignment" is a long time coming. Repetitious curriculum was an object of ridicule among students at my school.

  41. Well as a teacher, I can support one aspect of these admittedly basic goals: vertical alignment. It'll help clear up some of the clutter, where kids learn skills but then don't practice them the next year and it'll move things forward a bit.

    We do need national standards, with local control over how to actually meet said standards. Part of the problem (much more than unions and I teach at a non-union charter school) is that almost none of the elementary teachers are math majors (another is that based on the teacher training programs I've seen, elementary teachers tend to be more emotionally caring than intellectually competent).

    Come Junior High we switch the goals on our kids, emphasizing intellectual skills rather than group cohesion and getting along with others (an admittedly vital skill we should not lose). Too many too poorly trained kids don't make the switch and fail in high school; the vertically aligned skills should give us a modest step in correcting this by continually building on earlier skills and alerting parents and administrators earlier on where kids are missing vital knowledge.

  42. I think they need to adopt a curriculum close to the 1960's where you teach them the basics and keep building instead of constantly trying to teach them to take tests. And get rid of "middle schools" and go back to Junior High school. Keep the 6th graders in elementary schools - give them a change to mature that year before sending them to Junior High. Keep 9th graders in Junior High and let them mature before sending them to high school!!! Make learning fun again and teach them the right way. I they aren't cramming for the Taks or other tests they are watching movies in class. Get back to the basics of instruction

  43. I would like to know which two states did not participate. Hawaii is quite caught up in its own standards as other places evidently are and it took so long to get what we have which are relatively intricate compared to other places that I seriously wonder how willing people here will be to change. In my eyes as a teacher here for while a kind of disorientation in public education seems to have taken over.

  44. The children muat be taught the Constitution; "We The People". History as it it. The good and the bad. The texts must reflect the fact that the Country has a Judeo-Christian foundation. As it is: children are taught a "Progresivist Socialist" view of things. U.S.A. is the greatest Country on Earth. I spent 50 years there. I should know

  45. After a quick read of the college reading and writing standards, I can see that my employment as a college remedial skills teacher is assured for the future. These standards perpetuate the romantic notion that college and professional reading and communication is mostly about literature and the high arts. Nowhere do I see standards about online class discussions, the importance of preparing a good and short Powerpoint, how to write a memo, how to read for memorizing, how to read for research, how to mark up a text for studying, how to prepare for notetaking in class or from a text. These are the tasks I prepare students for--not seminar discussions or critiquing fiction. I support national standards, but I fear this is a waste of time.

  46. Where are all the other areas of intelligence and creativity? Where are art, music, emotional awareness, spatial imagination, etc.?

    Such pigeon-holed conceptions of education are starving the personal and cultural range of human capacities in our children and ourselves.

  47. Setting standards for the nation is good but training the teachers to be able to teach those successfully is the big job- anyone interested in how to do that check out Fred Jones, Tools For Teaching teacher training in discipline,instruction and motivation. Fred Jones archives at education-world.com
    We need to get real about what it takes for a school and its students to achieve and it doesn't happen by just setting standards- teachers must know how to attain those and we have continually underprepared our students to be successful. That is what makes the difference!

  48. Figure out what it trully costs to educate a child. This number is easily determined by evaluating functioning private schools. Our Catholic private school spends about $10,000 in the Los Angeles area.

    The only problem with that is you haven't factored in any clergy that works in those schools who don't get paid. But that's a minor quibble.

    I think having bare minimum standards in theory isn't a bad thing but who well rounded are the standards? Is the federal government going to provide funds to schools who want to adapt these standards but currently can't afford to? Unlike NCLB?

  49. "For a start, expand the length of the school day. Make it the same as a work day."

    Give me a break. Kids do not have attention spans that last that long.

  50. Having a set of national standards should be viewed as setting the low bar. There is no barrier to states surpassing standards. There should be a nationwide understanding of what students at a particular grade level should be expected to have mastered. Students in Mississippi should not be short-changed in curriculum compared to students in Connecticut.

    I am not surprised that Texas and Alaska are afraid to participate in accepting a set of minimum standards. Their insular bluster thinly veils many sub-standard schools.

    I am afraid, however, that no amount of standard setting or testing or money will change the dismal outcomes in American education until our culture changes and education is truly a priority for American families. We give it lip service as a society, but on an individual basis, too many parents in too many families are not making their children's educational achievement a top priority. Young people waste more time connected to electronic media than they spend connected to and actively participating in the educational system. Only a small minority of families monitor and discipline children, limiting their time watching tv, surfing the net, talking and texting on the cell phone in order to
    make sure that children are spending time engaged in activities that are directly connected to or supporting their educations. Too many parents are more concerned with their children's successful participation in school sports than their successful achievement in math or English.

    Finally, it is also time to start a radical reduction in the administrative superstructure that soaks up the money we invest in education before it reaches students in classrooms. I strongly suspect that the numbers of administrators in both K-12 and higher education per student is much, much higher now than it was 20 or 40 years ago, when we were achieving more success in our educational system than we achieve today. We could probably put 50% of them back into the classroom and the system would function better, not worse, than it currently does. We would also be able to offer more classes.

    The commenter who said that eliminating teachers' unions would be the next requirement for improving the educational system does not understand that the "bright ideas" of administrators and politicians, like No Child Left Behind, would not be revealed as disasters if not for teacher tenure that allows teachers to "speak truth to power" without fearing for their jobs. The teachers' unions certainly have not managed to leverage teacher salaries into the stratosphere. Teachers' unions spend a great deal of time and effort advocating for education itself. We have too few organizations that make such efforts. Also, teachers are too often asked to do the impossible with students from impoverished, deprived, education-hostile environments and are then blamed when outcomes are not what administrators and politicians want.
    They require protection and have nothing to turn to but their unions. Yes, America needs more and better teachers, but the current problems in the system are not the fault of the teachers. I'm disgusted by frequent attempts to scapegoat teachers for what is in fact a cultural disaster.

  51. We don't need more central control in education, dump the Department of Education and for once, listen to what the teachers are telling you in your local districts. Stop all the social engineering in school, and please stop the adversarial relationships between the school districts and the unions. Not to mention its time to not require children to be in school, if we as taxpayers offer a free education and a child doesn't want to behave and take advantage of it, then send them home. Let their parents or parent deal with it for once.

  52. It's interesting that people are calling Obama "Der Fuhrer", such as #16 (who can't spell right), when we have a terribly underperforming educational system and Bush was the one who introduced national standards to education. . .

  53. Local culture is important for diversity and new ideas. Standardized life leads to no improvements and a dead society. This is the beginning of the end of our country as we know it.
    Read: "Deliberate Dumbing Down of America"

  54. Finally! The first real hope for US education in decades. Math and English are universal, and there is no need for local control by tens of thousands of independent (and sometimes incompetent) school boards. A very important step in the right direction.

  55. To bmcpool:

    I don't have time to read the standards just now, but I hope that they include just a little grammar. For instance, the difference between adjectives like "purposeful" and ADVERBS like "purposefully".

  56. 47... did you just say "emotional awareness"?? I'm hoping that i misread what you wrote.

  57. Touro College, School of Health Sciences discriminated me, dismissed me from the Occupational Therapy Program, its College as well as prohibited me from pursuing opportunities it offers in other academic disciplines, disregarded my appeal letters, took away my right to pursue education and framed me for a crime I did not commit. Attempted falsifying business records 2nd degree. Bellow you will find the description of what took place in Touro College, School of Health Sciences Occupational Therapy Program. I have also included in the package two loose leaf binders. One binder has transcripts, registration papers, appeal letters, e-mails from professors and staff, an audio cassette and a CD of a conversation that took place with me and Professor Claire Daffner who discriminated me in the dual degree B.S. in Health Sciences and M.S. in Occupational Therapy Program in Touro College. The other binder has exams and term papers. I reported and sent my evidence to various agencies including, United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights who later dropped the investigation. I also reported Touro College's discrimination to channels, CBS 2, NBC 4, ABC 7, WPIX 11. I also contacted the FBI and explained my situation about my discrimination and unfair practices and reported how police came to my residents without court a order, or subpoena and did not read me Miranda Warning, or told me the charges brought against me. I told the FBI that Touro College has illegal practices and abuses its power as well as wrote an e-mails to United States Student Association who responded quickly to me, but Touro College has not made any attempt to resolve the situation. I am afraid to go to jail.

    Below you will find a more detailed version of my story and the experience I have been going through since I joined Touro College as a student. Touro College, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with the help of Michael Cherner's graduation form awarded me its Associate in Arts (A.A.) Degree in Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts & Sciences, June 28, 2005.

  58. I teach high school English, and I just looked at the college and career writing standards on the website and said, "Well duh." I've been addressing those for years. The writing standards look good to me - bring 'em on!

  59. I proposed this in 7th grade (1973) in a class project. My teacher literally laughed at me, saying it was 100% doomed to failure because no teacher would give up control over his/her classroom. Setting the curriculum (the goals for what children need to learn) federally and letting teachers set the lesson plan (thereby giving them autonomy in the classroom and making full use of the "art" in teaching) makes very good sense to me still.

  60. I welcome this change. Nurse licensing also moved incrementally towards standardization between the states. I find it slightly depressing that opposition seems to arise from teachers, and that responsibility is offloaded to parents and ethnic groups. I agree that many factors have contributed to the relative decline in American primary and secondary education and that teachers are held responsible for effects they have little control over. Still, I think unified minimal standards can help improve education for most, and especially for the least advantaged.

  61. It is both naive and unrealistic to think that national standards could work in such a huge country.

    But there must be something good about it if Texas and Alaska refuse to participate.

  62. The curriculum standards in most states, including Texas, is already standardized by the SAT, ACT, ITBS, and other norm-referenced tests that are used for college entrance and placement in gifted-talented programs. Been that way for nearly 30 years. Wrote curriculum for a school district in Texas long ago and we had to make sure that we had included what was expected on the ITBS for that grade level. So for all the people arguing that this is a new action on the part of the federal government, you're really behind the times. This is just a part of a continuing process that began in the early 80's while Reagan was in office.

  63. A very good idea. For one thing the inefficiency of the current system is staggering. Billions of dollars annually for high paid administrators to study and revise curricula, almost every penny of which is waste and duplication. Even worse, every local system has very high priced "experts" designing and re-designing and re-re-designing the curriculum. Good curricula is inevitably junked as high paid administrators work hard (and justify their positions) often believing they are going good for the children as they implement new "improved" educational systems (usually sold by a for profit company and heavily marketed). Evidence based improvements based on educational research and scientific understanding of human brain development, work that has improved our understanding of how humans learn, those changes have not been implemented under our current system or where they have been implemented they get replaced with the latest fad. Our current educational system is broken and local control is not the solution, it is the problem.

  64. Great! I have been concerned about the various standards used by the different states in our nation. I believe strongly that it is in our national interest to have all of our children well educated. I have watched local money being spent on building new football stadiums while at the same time a large percentage of local children drop out of school before graduation. Many end up getting low paying jobs. Some of the young people in our local restaurants know so little math they cannot determine the total to charge for a meal ticket. I am all for national standards. States that ignore them are condemning their children to a lesser quality of life. This article that national standards will be available and local standards can be compared to them if local standards do not adopt them is indeed good news.

  65. Here we go. One size fits all. The bureaucrats know best. Let Washington fix it. What's good for Brooklyn is good for Podunk, Idaho.

    Like a factory, we will organize production so that every widget heading down the line in administered the right amount of material and then tapped firmly on the head and stood up to walk off the assembly line, into the corporate world of subservience to standardization. This Brave New World of automation will result in exactly no creativity, no inspiration, no joy in learning and absolutely no success.

    Every day, in every school, in every 5th grade class, every teacher will have the same objective, in the same color chalk, with the same size letters, and then utter the same lesson pre-amble and call on students in the same order. And this will be considered great progress.

    We will never "control" children, or their learning, across this great land. But we can and will waste a lot of money trying, and eventually, ruin what is best about our current school structure: the human desire to be excellent.

  66. No child with normal or better than normal intelligence should leave grade 3 without knowing how to read and do arithmetic. Even if that child is dyslexic or needs extra help that should not preclude learning the basics. In other words, knowing one's ABC's and basic math facts IS important. Instead of using controlled readers what about having children read fairy tales, fables, and the actual books written by well known children's authors? When it comes to basic math the teachers should be well trained. I know that as product of the New Math, the teachers did not understand it and, as a result, neither did a lot of us and that resulted in plenty of confusion once we reached the higher grades.

    The early grades are when the foundation is laid. Therefore those grades are the ones where we need teachers who like children, are excellent at teaching and catching problems that interfere with learning, and who understand what makes a child tick. Children should not be leaving third grade hating school. They should be ready for going beyond reading into thinking because that is what school is about after third grade: thinking, not sounding out words. The same goes for arithmetic.

    Not all learning is fun but when a child leaves third grade with a dislike of learning we are all in trouble. Learning is part of life and we need to be able to endure the boring parts of learning in order to proceed to the higher aspects of it. Knowing one's multiplication tables and division by heart up to 12 is very handy. Knowing how to estimate is wonderful. All too often we fail children at the beginning of their educational lives and that has horrible consequences later on.

    In short, yes, there should be national standards. Every child should know how to read and write and do math. Every child should know about the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, who Harriet Tubman was, who helped us win the Revolutionary War, and so on. National standards could assist us with ensuring that all children have that information in common.

  67. It angers me that standardization continues to be a major topic of discussion while public school funding hemorrhages. Our schools have and will continue to have fewer resources, more students per class, underpaid and stressed-out teachers; meanwhile they compete for money by teaching to standardized tests. Children do not learn this way. They do not learn the life skills necessary to take care of themselves and their communities, they do not learn to be creative, to investigate on their own, to really synthesize and analyze information. They are taught to regurgitate data and ultimately to become workers for rich people. Increasingly, the options for young people, especially people of color, are to end up in the military or in prison. Last week, on March 4th, students around the country came out in massive numbers to protest school budget cuts, tuition hikes, and other serious issues threatening our lives. We demand to be heard. This country has the resources to educate its entire population, but we are allowing this giant rift between the rich and the poor, and wasting our money killing people in Iraq and Afghanistan. We young people do not want more standardization - it is the death of learning. I have been through so many classes that teach to a test where no one leaves having really learned a thing. The solution is not a national standard (which would certainly be both culturally and class-biased), but rather to make education a higher priority in this country and to fund it, to teach about people's histories other than Europeans, to have a book in every student's hand that doesn't just come from Texas. They want to privatize our education, to bankrupt the system to the point where it seems justified to eliminate public funding. Well, I don't want McDonald's Middle School or Halliburton High. Increase the taxes 1% on the few wealthiest people in this country and you'd have enough money to completely revitalize the public education system. National testing standards will not get us anywhere positive or, for that matter, gauge the people's progress. They will only create an even wider gap between the students (and thus schools) who "succeed" and those who do not. We want our future back. Fund public education.

  68. Way overdue, but will it push poor schools to teach for the test even more? The poorer the school, the more they teach for the test; affluent schools never study for major tests. Which school would you want to attend, or send your child to? Obama went to a prep school; prep schools do not teach for the test, yet it is clear he expects this of poor schools (Rhode Island). Like so many condescending rich folks, he thinks there should be a different approach to learning for poor kids. Busting the union was the dumbest thing Obama ever did, and it may cost him re-election, and his last common support among the working folks. Oh-and post the skills, and practice material. online, for free!

  69. The key sentence in this article is: "And adoption of the new standards would set off a vast new effort to rewrite textbooks and standardized tests."

    A boon for the educational-industrial complex, to be sure. Think of all the MONEY to be made!

    For the students ... well, let's see if I have this right. These folks believe a prescription from the federal government, more removed from the schoolhouse than the state and local governments that have failed to improve public schools for decades, is going to save our kids. And will students be expected to understand how much a bridge sells for as well?

    It's instructive that the New York Times doesn't mention a single critic-- and there are legions of them-- of national standards. Once again we're reminded that what's good for corporate America is good for the gray lady. Period.

  70. Here comes the filibusters, Texas and Alaska on this proposed new education standards. That's exactly you would expect from Republican states. To them what is good is bad and what is bad, they want more of it. That's the Republican way of doing things. They make up laws when they are in power. They bad mouth lawyers who follow the Constitution. The party of Lincoln has moth into the Party of No.

  71. As a public school high school teacher,then administrator, for a total of 34 years, I'm glad to see that all (but two) states directly participated in the creation of these standards. That should address the issue of "states' individuality." The need for uniformity is valid due to education presently being quite disparate, with some children in some states getting a lesser education. Education is, or should be, the greatest democraticizing element in America. But when some kids, depending on where they live, get a good education, and other kids, again depending on where they live, do not, this disparity is a form of discrimination and inequality. Let's not allow that.

    Regarding textbooks: As a successful English teacher, I rarely used textbooks, turning to them mainly as SUPPLEMENTS to my curriculum. If textbooks had totally disappeared from our English program at school, I would not have missed them at all. English textbooks of that time did not reflect the diversity of my students or my community. Where were great Black writers like Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Nikki Giovanni? I had to bring in my own materials in order for all my students, of all colors, to learn about the artistry of these authors--as well as the artistry of Hispanic, Asian, and Native American writers, who were absent from the textbooks. If textbooks AND STANDARDS reflect the wealth and breadth of diverse cultures who contributed to each given academic area, then let's adopt the books and the standards. Short of this, there is still work to do in developing both.

    I'm a fourth-generation American who loves the U.S., and education is always dear to my heart. We must all be sure that as our education improves (for it surely needs to!), all improvements keep in mind the value and worth of diverse thinking and creation. In addition, as a current university instructor, I teach teachers, and I constantly hear from them their woes about their loss of creativity due to too many standards they need to address. They bemoan the lack of time to teach higher thinking skills, to integrate art into their lessons, to stimulate the students' creativity in many venues, and--basically--the diminution of their own assessments of what the children need. Rote learning has indeed taken over. My students (these experienced teachers)are intelligent, caring, motivated. They're not the problem. The unthinking standardization that occurred under No Child Left Behind is the problem.

  72. For all but the rarest, self-motivated student, it is parents who set standards and provides vision for their children. And if it weren't for the College Board and their battery of tests, (or schools with OB curriculum) we really wouldn't know how anyone was doing relative to one another.

  73. Texas and Alaska are a disgrace for the nation. They can do whatever they want in their own schools, but they should let the rest of the country adopt the new standards and move forward. It's so incredibly arrogant and unfair that Texas should be playing such a big role in textbooks for the entire country and make everybody conform to their understandings of education, but when asked to do the same, they'll have none of it. How exactly are they special and exempt from sharing the country with the rest of the states? What was that - "united we stand" or something like that? Has Texas ever really been united with the rest of the country?

  74. Public school is not a college prep institution!

    I think the basic public school initiative should be to have every student graduate, and every student who graduates should be educated well enough to get a job.

    Then worry if some of the graduates can go to college, because all graduates will not go down that path.

    I think everyone should review and comment on these final standards to those who developed them.

  75. Thousands of dollars and hours have been wasted crafting these standards at the state and local level. With exceptions made for state and local history, we should have had national standards long ago. I remember dozens of over-paid administrators in Flint, Michigan working on these standards which were exclusive to Flint. Then an additional gaggle of educrats in Lansing labored on a set of state standards which replaced them. Meanwhile we have no money for school nurses, or soap in the childrens' bathrooms, and 86 percent of our districts anticipate layoffs. What a waste.

  76. this is a scary intrusion of government. why does the congress and president think that they can trample over the constitutional limitations on itself every day? where precisely in the constitution does it article their right to fund and control education? NOWHERE

  77. I can't wait for the social science text book that starts "Our ancestors the Gauls...." Next stop, one party? One nation? One people? We need children to study, but I'm not convinced any "standards" bring about better practice. How about teachers who are free to design their own curriculum and do so to reflect what the children at hand are interested in? Nah, sounds like hippie homeschool talk..... Back to Ein Volk, ein Reich, etc already in progress....

  78. Reply to "a teacher": when T.V.'s come out of the factory broken even after a reformed assembly line, it's not because the raw materials are deffective, but because the workers shaping and assembling those raw materials are not doing a good job.

  79. Unless you believe your child will only live and work in the local area where they received schooling, suggesting that there not be a standardized base of educational knowledge is foolish.

    A baseline of standard knowledge is a floor not a ceiling for learning. Teachers can innovate to their hearts content to provide that understanding in the classroom and move beyond given the needs of the students.

  80. This is not within the jurisdiction of the federal government. To do so would be unconstitutional. This jurisdiction belongs exclusively to the states.

  81. It is absolutely true that parents whose children are members of disrespected minorities do not (can not afford to) teach them to trust and respect the educational system. When faces that look like your children's faces and names that sound like your children's names are edited out of the curriculum, when teachers are heard using racist terms, when disciplinary personnel treat children differently according to their ethnicity, you must as a parent be careful not to undermine your child by endorsing that system in his or her eyes.

    Clever parents can try to teach their children to extract every ounce of learning they can salvage from the system while despising its biases, but it's a highwire act.

  82. Should I be appalled or amused by the number of supposedly educated people commenting on this article whose comments themselves reveal flaws in their own educations? From spelling errors to a lack of proofreading skills, so many mistakes in literate adults' communication skills point to a need to strengthen education standards at every level. Everybody, stop blathering and go read a book.

  83. I so agree with that comment. I was a public school teacher until I retired. And I saw firsthand just how the unions protected so many really ineffective (well, really bad) teachers. When people talk about teaching as a profession, let me say this: it isn't. I think this is such a great plan. And if we need more evidence, then take a look at the two states that don't support! Texas and Alaska!

  84. It's a shame they didn't adapt a Civics requirement and Constitution. Knowing more about how government works might save future generations from the influence of gasbag demagogues like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Chris Mattews, Al Franken, and a few others.

  85. Texas and Alaska. Hee Haw.

  86. I am a retired teacher, and also was involved in the process of developing standards in Vermont. In New England, we have adopted similar standards in several of our states and use many common assessments. At a quick glance these national standards look good, and are based on what so many of us have already done on a local level. As long as our teacher input is primary, this could be a good idea.

  87. Normally, I would never support such a generic and blanket measure. However, given what we've had in Texas, anything would be better. I am keeping my fingers crossed in the upcoming TX SBOE and governor election for better. Sadly enough, Palin and Perry are two examples of how the general population votes in these two states.

  88. Did Rick Perry of Texas really say that? Besides being extremely narrow-minded, doesn't he understand that today's students will have to participate and vie for jobs in a global marketplace? So glad I don't live in Texas!

  89. So Texas didn't want to participate.

    I'm sure that has nothing to do with the support the current Texas administration receives from fundamentalist Christians. Coincidentally, those zealots have (or had) a stranglehold on the Texas State Board of Education and were using that power to rewrite history, science etc. according to their imaginations, and in essence forcing textbooks used in many states (due to the slim margins of textbook publishers) to be written to their non-historical, non-scientific specifications.

  90. Another item we can all disagree about.

  91. Minimum basic standards for all subjects is a good start. I also agree with the comment about the need for vertical alignment. However, a couple of things need to be said. Firstly, do all students need to know high functioning abstract math? How many of our children will need these skills in their future occupations(less than 2%)? If I remember correctly it was many of the top math whizzes on Wall Street how got us into the financial mess we are in. Also what says that corporations are not just going to keep outsourcing work to other countries? Even if our students were the best and brightest they won't work for the fraction of pay that an engineer will in India or China. India and China have cultures which have less distractions and are more disciplined than the US. They also don't need all of their students to be high functioning academically because they have factory work as an alternative. Can the US really reach full employment with only service sector jobs? Does everyone need a liberal arts education? Is that really in their best interest? What role will vocational training play? The US needs to have an honest conversation about these realities if we are really to prepare our children for the next century.

  92. According to former Nevada Governor, Kenny Guinn, the purpose of public schools is to "create an educated workforce." As a 33-year veteran of the classroom, this push for national standards comes as no surprise; I've been predicting it for years. In fact, I believe that this is a step to eliminate teachers from the classroom altogether!

    A child enters kindergarten in Florida and is handed a disc upon which her lessons, assignments, quizzes, and standardized tests are found. She works at her own pace, and as she completes the disc, she moves on to the next. Her progress is recorded, but nothing holds her back from moving on to "1st-grade" work as soon as she shows mastery of kindergarten curriculum. If her family moves to Washington State, she merely takes her disc with her and continues without having to adjust to anything more than her new environment...it is seamless! In this model, teachers (and their unions) would be obsolete; a comupter technician will be available to resolve any hard/software glitches, and a "supervisor" would be assigned to address any "human" needs the students may have during their learning sessions. Students who demonstrate exceptional progress could be "skimmed" into the more rigorous and challenging programs, streamlining them toward identification as a potential professional, innovator, inventor, or philosopher and an advanced learning opportunity with a human expert who will serve as their mentor...a Merlin, if you will...in their field of interest.

    Parents would be responsible for socializing their children (much like folks socialize their dogs at community dog parks)and providing for all extracurricular activities, such as sports and artistic pursuits.

    Sounds good to me!

    A brave new world awaits! Embrace it!

  93. This is real progress to improve education in America; however, we still need to work on increasing the graduation rate of children who enter high school. That will require involving parents in education or devising a strategy to provide a substitute for parental involvement.

  94. Do these standards include teaching computer literacy and basic programming skills? Do they include basic electronics, like building radios or other kinds of hardware kits? Our kids need to be learning how to write software and solder together electronics - these are not specialist skills any more, these are absolutely required abilities for anyone who wants to be able to control their future. If you can't make your own devices, or aren't able to alter the ones you buy, you're going to be a slave to totalitarian corporations and limited to browsing in walled gardens on closed networks.

  95. Without the unions, teachers' salaries would be half of what they are now. Exactly where will the qualified teachers come from, when it hard to fill all the positions now? Parochial school teachers don't have the same credentials as public school teachers are required to have and could never in a million years deal with the disruptive students that public school teachers are forced to have. Remember, public school teachers are forbidden from disciplining disruptive students.

  96. Following the performance standards ought to be a list of content standards. For instance, in social studies, should every student know when important events took place in order to analyze the reasons for, say, a war? Or an economic disaster? In math, should every student be able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide from memory in order to understand the skills listed as standards? I teach Spanish. When the world language standards were written, it was not allowed to say that level one students ought to be able to cope with present tense, noun-adjective-article agreement, word order, etc. Should there not be certain content that is common to all courses in order to get students to the point of displaying the skills written in the standards?

  97. The most tangible benefit of this policy will be (perhaps) to break the monopoly of Texas on our textbooks and curricula.

    Nonetheless, any educational reform will be a bandaid solution until we have, as a society, finally understood that education is important. In politics and more importantly in the home.

  98. “Many states have too many expectations in their academic standards that force teachers to cover too much in a superficial way,” said Gene Wilhoit, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers. “We said, ‘Let’s keep these very understandable and at a number that is manageable. Let’s not put on teachers more requirements than they can deliver.’ “

    Huh? "Japanese style rote learning"?????
    We do need CONSISTENCY! I'm all for it.
    And to the 'teacher' with the lame t.v. assembly line analogy, blame the victims, blame the parents, point the cannon anywhere, except at yourself.
    In my work life I stood & delivered. Maybe you should change occupations.

  99. Writer #15 makes a good point. National standards will likely compromise strong education states such as Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas. It could be a race to the bottom.

  100. The bias inherent in this reporting astounds me -- "motley current checkerboard of locally-written standards?" Sorry, Mr. Dillon, but I think diversity is strength, and I would rather see a thousand flowers bloom as school districts and school boards in all fifty states experiment with what works best for their local circumstances. In no way do I wish to see a remote group of educational bureaucrats set a "one-size-fits-all" rigid national standard. Viva Federalism! By the way, I used to work in the U.S. Department of Education, and I am very familiar with what works, and what doesn't work, to make our schools better.

  101. @MAG (#20) wrote:

    Did I miss it?

    Will there be emphasis on the correct use of grammar?
    Spelling? Basic math skills? Are there standards for students to learn to add, subtract, multiply, divide? (SANS computers reliance).

    But, learning the difference between prose and drama as one of the important criteria? C'mon!

    ***

    MAG: Yes, you missed it, big time.

    Can people please take some time click on a link and go to the source before going off on a rant to make some silly point about some supposedly wacky bureaucratic failure?

    The SECOND sentence of this article says:

    "The standards, posted on the panel’s web site, lay out the panel’s vision of what American public school students should learn in math and English, year by year, from kindergarten to high school graduation."

    And the words "posted on the panel's web site" links to the standards.

    The word "spelling" appears 36 times in the English Language Arts standards document. "Prose" appears twice and "Drama" 22.

    And get this: Math standards get their own 71-page document!

    Same goes for all the ranting about the federal government.

    Sheesh. If the reading comprehension and research capabilities people display on comments boards is any indicator of real life, God help us all.

  102. "Earlier attempts to draft voluntary national standards during the first Bush and Clinton Administrations foundered after conservatives attacked them as federal meddling in classroom teaching."

    Yes, and all the subsequent "non-meddling" has helped rocket the US to one of the lowest standings internationally.

  103. They don't learn anything in Texas Governor Perry! I feel bad for the kids in Texas, they deserve better. I guess all you can do is leave when you grow up.

  104. I laugh whenever I see people refer to today's standards as "dumbed down". I have a master's degree and I was often stumped by the homework my middle schooler brought home - and I earn six figures on my knowledge and skills. I'm not sure what the goal is here - to ensure that every high school graduate has the equivalent of a bachelor's degree? I always thought a high school diploma was meant to indicate that a person had certain basic skills - reading, writing, basic math and science, and exposure to some advanced topics like art, economics, health, drama, etc. If you want calculus or partial differential equations, then talk to a person with a college degree.

  105. My son's school just gave pink slips to 40% of the teachers (including my son's teacher) due to CA state budget cuts, which will increase the size of each class from 30 to 40 kids. When are the districts going to tighten their own belts instead of passing that burden to the schools? When will the districts and school budgets be posted on websites for all to see? Public schools and their districts are paid by taxes so their budget should be made public.

    Of course the newest teachers were given these pink slips even if they are better than more Sr teachers. The schools should fire ALL teachers and rehire the good ones to get rid of the slackers and bypass the stupid union requirement of keeping the most Sr teachers even if they are slacking, and renegotiate their salaries based on economy conditions and performance (they need to take pay cuts just like the rest of us).

    What we need is "district auditors" that visit the districts unannounced to see how efficiently they are doing their jobs and make sure they don't have unnecessary staff that are not really busy doing necessary work. We don't need to pay admin staff to surf the web all day. Districts are pure overhead and so they need to have efficiency standards to eliminate waste. And their salaries need to be adjusted based on economy conditions and performance (they need to take pay cuts too). The Superintendants in the districts that consistently score low with auditors need to be fired.

  106. Seems like a good idea to propose realistic standards for math and English. But are there good reasons for not adopting standards for the sciences? Is it unreasonable to think that we should have a minimum grasp of biology, chemistry, physics etc?

  107. The federal government has no business dictating educational policy!

  108. It would be great if the parents and students were included in this reform. If students are not held responsible for their learning they couldn't care less about the test. The teachers are the ones getting the bad rap. Start making parents and students responsible and watch the scores climb.

  109. The argument - that it is more beneficial for education decisions to remain local rather than adopting a national curriculum - would hold a lot more sway, if as a nation we weren't in decline. Therefore, keeping the status quo intact makes were little sense.

    During the international testing (student age 15) only three subject matters are tested: science, reading comprehension and mathematics. We have fallen abyssmally behind in these three areas. What the test does not reflect is how far we have fallen behind in other subjects: ethics, civics, world studies, foreign languages, the arts, nutrition, you name it... all these subjects serve to broaden the mind, teach awareness of ones own nation as well as other nations and cultures.

    This country fell behind decades ago - the blinders have to come off now!

  110. The biggest question I have is what is this new program going to do for those who are in lower income parts of the country? One there isn't as much money to go around and two there might be more problem children. One can not just solve this issue by coming up with an education plan for the nation. I went to a very good school system yet not everyone has the chance to get an excellent education. So, what about those kids? How is this program going to help them out without having the teacher have more work?

  111. At last, some GOOD news!
    Overall standards, local implementation and, hopefully, less '"grandstanding" legislation every time some politician wants his/her name in the paper ('schools required to teach x min on addictions, required to teach x min on 'just say no', "x min on cultural differences"etc. ). Often good ideas that get fit into teachers plan anyway but missing the heavy hand of "forget it and "they can fire you over it".
    Children move from state to state and with these national standards they are more likely to get a comprehensive education.

  112. 1. The United States is a Military Industrial Complex (MIC), period. Therefore, the only standard is a Military Academy System (MAS)for our public school enterpise. The mission is to get the little bambina or bambino to the US Merchant Marine Academy; United States Air Force Academy; US Naval Academy and Westpoint. This is our policy and our mission as citizens, teachers, principals and parents. We are the world leaders in eduation and intelligence, second none.
    2. In the New Generation Globalized Economy, there is no need to terrorize the world for they are our comrades in arms. A strong labor, military and business posture predicated on our Military Academy System (MAS). Let science, mathematics, logic and reasoning deliver the United States of America from the evil of the Crusades(The Children Wars). MAS is our connectivity with the Universe.

    Antonio Ivan Easterling
    Chief Editor
    The Proletarian Review

  113. Surprise!! Texas and Alaska didn't perticipate.

    Two states run by, or formaly run by, morons.

    Ron



  114. Any change adopted by the feds in its attempt to undermine local and state laws will be overturned. It will nto be enacted.

    States such as massachusetts is quite able to educate and perhaps the DC with 36% illiteracy rate might want to adopt the standards of the states which can seem to teach reading.

  115. From the quick glance I took, these look about as good as one could expect given that it was a federal-state collaboration. Getting all but the two most stubborn states (one of which I'm from) to agree to national standards requires some vagueness and wiggle room, but there are some interesting surprises here. For example, suggesting including narrative nonfiction in curricula? This is a good look towards modernization. And I wonder, too, how much of the standards are built on a realistic view of what one can get kids to do at various ages. Someone above complained that some of the middle school requirements seem unimpressive. Well, middle schoolers (ages 12-14) are unimpressive: they are self-obsessed, easily bored, and newly hormonal. The fact that these standards are written by people who actually study kids, and aren't interested in setting them up to fail, needs to be recognized as a great step in the direction of real success.

  116. Will ther be COMMON STANDARDS for PARENTS? So many children go to school
    without BREAKFAST. Then the 'EDUCATORS" are expected to PROVIDE LUNCH !
    Some children are even ill-clothed, should educators take care of these
    PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES too?
    Too often EDUCATORS are berated for not providing for the NEEDS WHICH
    SHOULD BE PROVIDED by PARENTS !
    There is a NEED TO RECOGNIZE ALL THE FACTORS which either contribute to
    or IMPEDE the course of learning!

  117. I agree with #72 and disagree with those who say this is a textbook company's dream. Textbooks do not need to be changed, just supplemented. What has changed in English and Math (at least through high school)in the last 100 years? The person from The Council of the Great City Schools said that it “considers the draft to be high quality grade-by-grade standards that the nation can be proud of.” I was always taught not to end a sentence with a preposition; I would rewrite that sentence and fail the educator who wrote it.

  118. This is great. No longer will local officials be able to hide their dirty laundry, and it holds out the promise that one day an employer anywhere in the country will be able to understand what any HS Diploma represents.

  119. on the contrary, i say we disband the department of education.
    this should fall to the states and local school districts!

    remember, no one in the department of education ever taught
    a student anything.

  120. The optimistic tone of the article will likely become less so in follow-ups to this initiative. The forces of conservatism embodied in catch-phrases such as values, states rights, local control, skepticism of elites and the ineffectiveness of Federal bureaucracy will lead to slow and likely less than universal acceptance. This mindset is leading our country to second-class (or worse) status in so many ways (economic development, infrastructure improvement, health care reform, climate change, energy and transportation efficiency) that it is sometimes futile to address it.

    One positive notion is embodied in the sucess of some charter schools, which seems to have resonance with both liberals and conservatives. The fact that the participants in these schools have accepted longer school days and longer school years is a fundamental reform that would be helpful if enacted more broadly.

  121. At #5, and how do you trust the 50 states governments to pick the correct educational formula and adjust it perfectly over time. Which is why a single system is more efficient and flexible to change.

  122. In Texas, we have seen what lockstep, one-size-fits-all has done to our public schools, and now in our public universities we have allowed a state bureaucracy to create a "core." The results, in our schools and our universities, is not good. When they can, students flee to private institutions and to universities in other states.

    I do not favor "standards" for a state much less for a country. We do not know what people need to know today, and we do not know what people need to know tomorrow. Shall we drive everyone into private education?

  123. All this talk about changing education standards has me frustrated. Teachers generally know what students need to be learning. States, districts, and individual schools have all worked tirelessly to set standards for their students. Federal standards are nice, but they represent another misguided attempt to better our youth's education.

    The fact of the matter is that parents, by and large, send their kids off to school on the bus when the child is 5 or 6, dust off their hands, and congratulate themselves on a job well done. They exclaim, "I got my child to kindergarten, it is the schools job now!" Until parents are dedicated to setting their own standards for their own child, their will be no noticeable improvement in education in this country.

  124. March 10, 2010

    Thank the gods of light, and the Obama Administration for restarting good reading and writing in our education systems policies.
    Enough already - depredating too many of our young American elementary and secondary students; that are indeed a serious result of complex social reading and other multiple conditions that are thwarting their literary growth.
    Yet we must say -Yes We Can, - to express President Obama’s vision; and this includes getting our national reading levels understood and managed with text, test, and tenacity - for the good of the educated world.
    Great article, Mr. Sam Dillion; and I am sure many of your Times people will be following this tasking and sacred work in the interest of our students –
    By the way the great computers age is really a great aid to this process of self-study, and pacing the student reader’s growth with very significant favorable progressions.
    Success in education is everyone’s duty for ultimate Times readers of course in our democratic republic that renews itself in writ and journals for all citizens – good readers, and writers.

    Joseph Amato
    Manhattan, N. Y.

  125. This comment has nothing to do with the pros and cons regarding national (not federal government) standards. Instead, it is about who the NY Times goes to for "expert" opinions about educational issues. For years that person has been Diane Ravitch. Now that Ravitch's recently published book reveals a departure from some of her earlier views, it appears that she may be stricken from the newspaper's "go to" list for ready quotes. Has she been replaced by Chester Finn who used to play a back-up role to Ravitch? If so, is that because Finn's conservative views on education conform more to the Times' outlook?