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Educators Hijack Chat With National Standards Questions

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Two prominent think tankers agreed to discuss their new book on turning around low-performing schools under NCLB in this edweek.org chat.

But most questions centered around standards. "Why is it obvious to just about everyone EXCEPT the people that make policy that national standards are needed?" one principal asked. "This is SUCH a no-brainer, it boggles my mind."

Chatter Chester E. Finn, Jr., agreed. But he responded that the failed efforts to establish national standards and tests in the 1990s have left members of Congress "quite allergic to this idea."

Later, in response to a question about a national test, Finn predicts the odds of that happening may increase after the 2008 elections.

Finn and his co-author, Frederick M. Hess, did get a few questions about the topic of their new book, No Remedy Left Behind: Lessons from a Half-Decade of NCLB. But it's interesting that Ed Week readers—many of them front-line practioners—have national standards on their minds.

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There is something sick about pushing all children into one box and calling that standards, forcing teachers to all be on the same page at the same time, to require learning to be regimented so tightly that even children see the flaw. My third grade grandson says, "We never have time to think about anything because we have to get on to the next page."

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