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: 27

  1. It's not enough. They need to do this for science and history also. Overall, they need to get the ideology out, from both sides, and base the curriculum on knowledge and the capacity to think a problem through, both using given tools and thinking outside the box. The education should not be geared only towards college but towards a literate and very competent population, whether college bound or trades bound. The only way to maintain our standard of living is to have an edge and have confidence in others having that edge, for which education is a foundation. Finally, the purpose of the education should not be only for the job market but also for the individual and citizen. I blame our politics at least partly on our rube mentality.

    I've had the benefit of having friends who were educated in other countries and have seen firsthand the dramatic differences and expectations. High school graduates of the French system can skip the first year of American college and even find the second year easy compared to what they did in their high school. I know German kids and Brazilian kids who spent a semester or year in school in the U.S. and found it pathetically easy. But, most Americans really don't have a clue about this, either ranting "America, the greatest country" or just not really being interested in education, not seeing the point. At least in the French and German systems, those university bound are as prepared as their grades indicate on the bac or abitur (comprehensive graduation exams); similar confidence can be place in the trades-bound who after their practical training are certified and can be trusted to know what they're doing. The same can not be said about un-referenced trades people in the U.S. except perhaps for those with a strong apprentice tradition.

  2. They should develop standards for states with significantly underperforming students. If the students in Mass. are doing fine, let them. But if there are states where students aren't doing well, then they should have to adopt standards.

  3. For a perfect reason why we need standardized curriculum everyone needs to also read the NYT article about what Texas is proposing for their social studies material. http://www.nytimes.com... This rewriting of history or the slanting of the facts and even the complete fabrication of "facts" is what makes this country so ignorant, divisive and intolerant of other ideas. The religious influence they want to exert should not be in these text books either. We as a nation need to be teaching the facts even if they are not flattering to us as a nation. We have done some pretty horrible things and we should face them honestly and not just bury or sugar coat an ugly past as if it never happened. It is scary what is happening to this country and I am not referring to the change. I am referring to those who are so scared of change that they are clinging to ways that are not working for us as a nation. Our country is becoming no better than Iraq or Iran whose religious fanatics want everyone dead who does not believe as they do. These religious right wing conservatives are our Taliban and they are ruining this country and our freedoms.

  4. For a perfect reason why we need standardized curriculum everyone needs to also read the NYT article about what Texas is proposing for their social studies material. http://www.nytimes.com... This rewriting of history or the slanting of the facts and even the complete fabrication of "facts" is what makes this country so ignorant, divisive and intolerant of other ideas. The religious influence they want to exert should not be in these text books either. We as a nation need to be teaching the facts even if they are not flattering to us as a nation. We have done some pretty horrible things and we should face them honestly and not just bury or sugar coat an ugly past as if it never happened. It is scary what is happening to this country and I am not referring to the change. I am referring to those who are so scared of change that they are clinging to ways that are not working for us as a nation. Our country is becoming no better than Iraq or Iran whose religious fanatics want everyone dead who does not believe as they do. These religious right wing conservatives are our Taliban and they are ruining this country and our freedoms.

  5. I do agree with those who say the kids need to have the outside-of-school interest, but I'd add that if parents are not interested or don't have the time/energy/knowledge, then the community needs to pick up the slack. It's in the interest of the community to do so as the education of each generation affects us all collectively. Also, kids who need help include a lot of whites too, not just blacks and hispanics.

    For those who are all in the "states-rights" or "say not to big government" mode, national standards have worked in other developed countries, which is why they're ahead of us. It may not work well in Costa Rica but as I said, it has worked well elsewhere. The educated response, then, is to understand why public schools work well where they do and why they don't where they don't.

  6. My thought-school boards need to maintain local control of schools. Once control of the school leaves the control of the local community, that school just gets absorbed into the bureaucratic over-soul and lost in the smoke and haze of the educational battles.

    I think that it is the college admission boards that should set the educational standards. "Here is the bar; if you want to get into our institution, you have to reach it." The best institutions of higher learning will have the highest bars. The best school districts will set standards that will enable their students to reach the highest bars.

    Beyond the basic 3 R's, I do not believe that anyone has a 'right' to an education. It is a privilege that has to be earned...and that takes WORK. Those who do the work should earn the privilege. It is not the work of government to set the standards; it is the work of government to assist students to reach for and attain the goals they seek. How we decide to do that is the business of politics. Different people, with differing perspectives, will come up with different laws. Have at it folks!

  7. Does one size fit all when you're talking about an empire-scale territory? As we federalize education (and health-care), we are putting pressure on the differences when we need not do so. As we consolidate our empire of states, we might recall the rise and decline of Rome. For more, pls see http://euandus3.wordpress.com...

  8. Having national standards for the graduates of the public schools is a sound plan that can fix most of what is wrong with our schools, today, but they need to be flexible enough to allow educators to be free to try different methods of achieving those standards.

    Frankly, the sample requirements both sound like standards designed for very slow learners who lack any exposure to literature or to drama outside of the classroom (which is not the case in any urban or suburban area nor in most rural areas), and who fail to understand how to do elementary calculations of numbers -- proportions are just another way of referring to the operation of vision, for example. The danger is that setting ridiculously lax standards will encourage the same old complacency about education that has resulted in the unsatisfactory educations reflected in too many of our public school graduates.

  9. Sorry a typo made the previous post hard to follow...

    Having national standards for the graduates of the public schools is a sound plan that can fix most of what is wrong with our schools, today, but they need to be flexible enough to allow educators to be free to try different methods of achieving those standards. They should definition what graduates should know by testing but be too presciptive to stultify innovation and experimentation.

    Frankly, the sample requirements both sound like standards designed for very slow learners who lack any exposure to literature or to drama outside of the classroom (which is not the case in any urban or suburban area nor in most rural areas), and who fail to understand how to do elementary calculations of numbers -- proportions are just another way of referring to the operation of division, for example -- something that teachers should be able to explain to elementary students learning to divide if they understand the math themselves. The danger is that setting ridiculously lax or too restrictive standards will encourage the same old complacency about education that has resulted in the unsatisfactory educations reflected in too many of our public school graduates.

  10. One of the main problems in our schools is that students as they progress from grade school to college, are not recognized, for lack of a better word, the skills and passions that they have. Wouldn't it be great if curricula were centered around the strengths of students? A creative program for creative individuals, a logistic program for analytical types,
    etc.

    Secondly, the teachers to not take the time on their own to recognize the areas of difficulty in students and then approach them and help them. The students are required (at least in my High school district) to approach the teachers. They don't because of a lack of self-esteem and embarrassment.

  11. "My question is, how will a student today use Lincoln's address as they travel to Mars? Are the individuals currently living in the International Space Station concern with sentence structure? Why are educators and others afraid to give children an education that will prepare them for the future. I don't understand why every child in the U.S. don't have a computer and wireless service."

    Even scientific papers have to conform to the basic rules of grammar. The above has two examples of subject/verb disagreement and one technically incorrect pronoun (though it has become common to use "they" singularly).

    A smart, interested child has more resources than ever before to delve deeper into a topic that interests them.

    These are baseline standards. Some things really are one-size-fits-all. 2+2=4; there's no debating that for a kindergartener. Multiplication tables need to be memorized, because they are the basis for all sorts of things. Life isn't all about fun and games and creative thinking. Almost every job has aspects that are routine. You need to inculcate discipline and a work ethic as well as the ability "to question and discover things for yourself." That's what homework does. That's what memorizing your multiplications does.

    The one thing that I think really must be taught to students in today's world is the ability and confidence to seek out credible information. You can't teach everything in school. We are overloaded with dubious opinions and opaque marketing (and political) strategies. It is unrealistic to expect that we can teach everything a person will ever have to know. Surely, we can teach how to find good information.

    I've run into an alarming number of people who simply don't know where to look, or more sadly, are afraid of being duped when they venture into the unknown. I hear a lot of "no one ever told me." Hopefully, we can eliminate that phrase in the future by ensuring that students leave high school with the confidence that they can find information when they need it. Maybe then we wouldn't have so many people taking out terrible mortgages, not saving for retirement, and getting into massive credit card debt.

  12. We are too focused on testing and totally ignorant about learning. American schools impose European left brain teaching methods. More than half of the student population is made up of right brain learners. Many cultures use pictures and story telling to pass on wisdom. The indigent people of the Americas are a good example. Educators need to find out how each student learns and adapt the lessons accordingly. If we used this approach with our LD students, more would be able to enter mainstream society. The best example is the use of a PC, metronome, and light left and right touch with non verbal autistic students. This slows down their brain so they can communicate by typing. We're supposed to be the smart ones. Mass production does not work in Education.


  13. Why the rush? Why is our country being jerked around by someone who apparently has ADHD - and is pathological (he doesn't care what anyone thinks - his opinion rules) - makes NO sense - and completely annihilates the standards that we have worked to put in place.

    Who does he think he is? Why don't we all say "NO"?

    "NO." Practice.
    "NO." This country is out of control - and we are allowing a freaking jerk to completely destroy us.

    What is wrong with US?

  14. I don't understand why the nat'l org.of state school administrators would support this? This makes mere functionaries out of every school administrator except those sitting in Washington, D.C. or even some elite group of globalist leaders.
    Surely there are bright minds at the county and state levels who can design curriculae and be good and innovative administrators. Or, are the teaching colleges also dumbing down the teachers along with the students?

  15. Vouchers.

  16. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of American school is local control. One of the most distinguishing characteristics of all those students who received the equivalence of K-12 educations abroad and who show much better knowledge and skills than American kids is that they were educated under nationally controlled educational systems. The best outcomes in those foreign countries occur where the state sets standards but leaves the educators free to achieve those standards with a great deal of discretion.

    The American tradition of public education was and is a great thing but the tradition of local control has proved not to serve the public's need for a well educated citizenry. The local control model has resulted in vast disparities because of varying resources and because of varying knowledge of education and because of varying intentions about what should be taught.

    The kind of knowledge and understanding that people need to do well in this world requires much deeper and comprehensive knowledge and skills of the mind than every before. Without that understanding people are forced to make choices according to what feels right rather than what they know to be right. People use technology that they do not understand so extensively that they actually have no idea what they are doing a lot of the time, yet do so according to a shared view of things learned largely by imitation that gives the impression that they do understand. People pick up concepts from the mass media and each other that they use to make choices but without ever having examined those concepts to understand what they really mean and what effects they are likely to have.

    We need to change this by educating everyone much better and having well considered national standards and a well established means of both evolving them and implementing them seems like a good strategy to achieve this outcome.

  17. Good luck getting 7th graders to understand linear equations! I've had college students who couldn't even do percentages. I learned to do equations in 9th-grade algebra and have never needed to use them in my life.

  18. TC, #129 -- In case you haven't read about it -- children educated by their parents consistently out-perform those in government schools.

  19. Alaska and Texas wont approve these new Standards. They did fine with Governor Sarah Palin, stand up comic, and President G.W. Bush, puppet fotr Dick Cheney.

  20. Guess what, DKS of Boston? We need people who are educated enough to understand what tense to use when they speak and which form of a verb to use, otherwise, students who are educated in the United States will not be able to engineer a vehicle to go to Mars!! Guess what, David Mcinnis Gill of Wilmington, NC? Students in Japan "test out" as early as the 5th grade and are basically told which career they will have in their adult life. Let us at least compare apples to apples here...Drew, of Boston, you are right on the mark. Way too many parents are the most irresponsible people I deal with as a teacher of their children. They do not read to their children, they do not check their child's homework, they do not even ask them if they have homework! They overschedule them in sports activities and expect that they will just "get it on their own" and I am not just talking about parents of children with only a high school education. I am also speaking of parents of children who have college degrees themselves. Parents are not willing to sacrifice their time and lives to raise the children they produced by modeling self-discipline in all aspects of their lives, using proper discipline techniques with their children and saying "no" consistently. Also, the answer to the problem here is not more technology in the schools. Teachers are professionals, send your children to school from a stable home environment where they are not in charge, you are, and let the teachers do their jobs. You might be surprised at the results.

  21. The standards draft plan almost matches my entire K-12 education to the "T". Did they mirror the California standards?

  22. Uhmmm. Excuse me. Most contemporary drama is written in prose?

  23. Nancy of Northern Nevada (#93), you've got it right, but discs are old-school. My kids get their education online, work at their own pace and get a superior education for a fraction of the price of any public school education anywhere. Online schools are the way to go!

  24. Yes! Yes! and Yes! It's great to see these standards are already being adopted in some states. I agree that parents need and must become more engaged in child's education, but that doesn't mean the state should not set standards. You can't just ask a teacher to teach or a student to learn. You must provide standards & goals for both the teachers and students. So again, I say YES! This is a step in the right direction.

  25. Newsflash: one size does not (and will never) fit all. Standards are mere afterthoughts for 21st century instructors who write, edit, and revise their curriculum accordingly to meet the demands of an increasingly diverse student body. Teachers are authors.Too many Principals and Administrators never wrote curriculum when they taught, hence, they need standards, not efficient teachers.

  26. In a nation where so many families move each year, have national standards can make a huge difference.

    The current system of state developed standards wastes a great deal of time, energy, and money. Why, for example, would a student in Massachusetts approach algebra different from a student in Florida or Arizona?

    You even have local school districts wasting time developing their own standards as if students living in one county really need different standards from those living in the next county.

  27. I guess that it is inevitable when we have Federal funding that we have Federal standards however, I would not like us to make the change from being a republic of States responsible for education to a national education delivery system without at least acknowledging the dramatic change. Maybe this is needed for us to win international competitions but I cannot think of another good reason and I for one do not want to totally lose local control of our education delivery system.