As a prospective new math teacher, I believe our educational systems needs national standards and testing that create three distinct levels of achievement: college prep, vocational prep, and special needs prep ["Should All States Meet the Same Education Standards?" usnews.com]. The special needs prep certainly would be the most political divisive, but ultimately these students need their own guidelines and standards that should include more state control versus the vocational and college prep tracks. Moreover, the special needs prep standards should reflect realistic and measurable standards based on each type of learning disability. And most importantly, special needs funding needs to be sufficiently funded to ensure these students' learning needs including sufficient mainstreaming that produces a well-rounded special needs student.
Comment by Jay of GA
How can any group in Washington design a set of education standards that will apply to the culture of inner-city Chicago, suburban Los Angeles, multi-lingual San Francisco, etc. Each culture is distinct, has unique problems to overcome, and presents unique challenges to teachers and administrators. Is any thought being given to helping local school districts, their governing boards, and their front-line staff develop standards, strategies, and tools for meeting their own challenges, in their own time, within their own budgets? What we have now are standards being developed by people who are not familiar with local conditions, do not work under local constraints, and do not have to answer to local constituencies.
Comment by Art Simmons of MO
I agree with national education standards. Our society is highly mobile. Students not only move within a city or state but move across country. When students get to their new school, they are either behind, ahead, or a mixture of both depending on subject or concepts. With national standards we are at least teaching the same content each year. However, standards need to be developed by a mixture of stakeholders, like teachers, parents, school and state administration from across the country.
Comment by Yvonne of CA
There already is a set of national standards for all core curriculums that the states base their own curriculum upon. However, the expectations on implementing and assessing these standards vary greatly from state to state. The problem with high-stakes testing is that they are not usually authentic assessments. Maybe, working toward creating authentic assessment nationally through collaboration between states would be a better way to making sure the national standards are consistently implemented and assessed.
Comment by S.D. White of NC
I agree there should be national education standards, especially if federal funding is based on whether or not students pass their state's standards. Why should testing and standards be more rigorous in some states than in others? Make standards universal however we can reach an agreement on what those standards are.
Comment by Laura Drake of WA