Putting National Standards into Local Practice

Over at Education Week, Diane Ravitch offers some perspective on “conservative” (i.e. state’s rights) based solutions for education–solutions that directly counter the flaccid straw-man excuse of “local standards” so often bemoaned by conservatives:

Even without any explicit national standards, test publishers must assume the existence of consensus about what students know and can do. In the absence of any common curriculum, they cannot assume that students have read anything in particular, but they can assume that they have been taught certain skills. In mathematics, the test publishers take their cues from state frameworks and adopted textbooks, where there is some agreement on what students may have had the opportunity to learn.

Ravitch further advises that parents of students must:

recognize that any standards must be voluntary, as there are schools and districts that will never accept external direction about what their students should learn; it’s a free country, and they should retain their freedom to ignore official pronouncements.


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