Wednesday, June 09, 2010

States Receive a Reading List: New Standards for Education

Other than RTTT and renewal of NCLB, the most important national issue on ed reform is states adopting common standards, which is critical given how many states (31 by one estimate) dumbed down their standards in response to NCLB.  Thus, it's great to see this progress:

The nation's governors and state school chiefs released on Wednesday a new set of academic standards, their final recommendations for what students should master in English and math as they move from the primary grades through high school graduation.

The standards, which took a year to write, have been tweaked and refined in recent weeks in response to some of the 10,000 comments the public sent in after a draft was released in March.

The standards were made public at a news conference on Wednesday in Atlanta.

Leah Lechleiter-Luke, a Spanish teacher from Mauston, Wis., who is that state's 2010 teacher of the year, said at the conference that the new standards were preferable to her home state's. "It's not that the standards in Wisconsin are so bad, it's just that there are so many of them," she said. "These are more user-friendly."

The Obama administration hopes that states will quickly adopt the new standards in place of the hodgepodge of current state benchmarks, which vary so significantly that it is impossible to compare test scores from different states. The United States is one of the few developed countries that lacks national standards for its public schools.

Students whose families move from New York to Georgia or California, for example, often have difficulty adjusting to new schools because classroom work is organized around different standards. The problem has become worse, since many states have weakened standards in recent years to make it easier for schools to avoid sanctions under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

The new standards were written by English and math experts convened last year by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. They are laid out in two documents: Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, and Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects. With three appendices, the English standards run to nearly 600 pages.


States Receive a Reading List: New Standards for Education

Published: June 2, 2010

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