It's been said before and is being said again: America needs national standards. So proclaimed representatives from 41 states last week, who met in Chicago to affirm their commitment to common expectations in math and English. "I've been in education more than 35 years, and we've had major meetings that have called for progress before, but I see [this] meeting as the first step to really taking aggressive action," explained Eric Smith, Florida's education commissioner. Secretary Arne Duncan has said he wants to use part of his economic stimulus kitty to push for national standards, and the collusion of states under the National Governors' Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers' leadership is certainly a big step forward. But the problems that derailed previous attempts at national standards still linger. Most importantly, it remains to be seen who will create, implement, and enforce these standards from the statehouse to the classroom--in other words, where the rubber will hit the road. Not to mention the assessments without which standards tend to lack traction. We'll bounce around some ideas gleaned from other countries at our upcoming May 5th conference.
"NGA, CCSSO Launch Common Standards Drive," by Michele McNeil, Education Week, April 17, 2009 (subscription required)