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National Education Standards

Ohanian Comment: Corporate politicos are running so fast to jump on the Duncan national standards bandwagon that the first sentence of this editorial is outdated. Now, 49 states (all but Alaska) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create "national education standards." Bill Clinton and Lou Gerstner's dream come true.

I have written my governor and commissioner of education, asking how this came about.

A grassroots organization has done more: No National Standards, is established to:

counter misinformation and propaganda from Wall Street, the Federal Government, and educational bureaucrats from around the country. These same groups who have wasted countless tax dollars over the past 25 years on “school reform” now want more of your money to implement an oppressive and centralized system of “National Education Standards.” These standards are sure to do two things: (1) Take away local control of education (2) funnel huge amounts of your hard earned dollars to for profit testing companies and government bureaucrats.

The site solicits articles and information, and a contact form is provided.

Try answering these questions. Then demand answers from your governor and state commissioner.

Questions to ask

The plan for national education standards has been thrust upon the country with uncommon speed. Here are some questions to ask proponents of National Standards:

  • Why was this effort which will affect all Americans conducted in secret?

  • Who are the "secret experts" who are writing the standards?

  • Who picked the "secret experts"?

  • If the graduation standards will be released in July, obviously people were working on them for quite some time. Who initiated this project, and with what authority?

  • Why have the CSSOs and the governors engaged in what is essentially a coup d’etat re the creation of national standards rather than engaging in an open and democratic process and trying to convince people that national standards are a good thing?

  • Editorial

    Forty- six states are working to create a set of national education
    standards. It is a project that was made necessary by unwarranted
    federal intervention in schools. It is a move that will lead to even
    greater federal control of education.

    State education leaders across the nation are trying to respond to the
    mess caused by No Child Left Behind. This federal education law attempts
    to use state education standards and incorporate them into a federal
    school accountability system.

    The law should never have been passed. It assumes that Washington has
    the authority and an obligation to supervise state and local schools. It
    has neither. No Child Left Behind corrupted state school improvement
    efforts and made them ineffective. And it accomplished nothing.

    Ugly Mess

    No Child Left Behind took high standards that some states had adopted
    and plugged them into the federal accountability system. Other states
    set much lower standards, which also were included into the federal
    accountability system.

    So while schools in other states have no problem meeting the low
    standards, other states struggle to meet their high standards. When the
    federal measurements kick in, schools in those states are denounced for
    failing to achieve "adequate yearly progress."

    It's an ugly mess that interferes with state efforts to improve
    education. In an attempt to straighten this mess out, officials from 46
    states (Texas, South Carolina, Missouri and Alaska refused to
    participate) [all but Alaska are now on board] are trying to agree on a set of national standards that all
    states can adopt, creating a more uniform system.

    Running Schools is the States' Job

    The problem is that this development will pave the way for more federal
    control of education. Once national standards are created, Congress will
    feel the need to mandate them on all states. Once we have national
    standards, we might as well have national tests. And once those tests
    are established, it will make sense to have a national curriculum to
    teach children to pass those tests.

    No longer will schools be run by state education departments and by
    local school administrators. More decisions will be made by bureaucrats
    in Washington.

    Since the U.S. Department of Education was created in 1980, it has not
    improved education. It has simply burdened educators with more federal
    paperwork. The federal government has no legitimate role in education.
    Running schools is a state matter.

    The solution to the problems posed by No Child Left Behind is not
    national standards and more federal interference. It is the repeal of No
    Child Left Behind.

    — Editorial
    Lakeland (FL) Ledger


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