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Duncan Pushes National Standards


Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spent this morning at a Northern Virginia school promoting the need for school construction money in the economic stimulus package. Yesterday, though, he spoke to the American Council on Education's annual meeting and discussed an issue that may be important for the next version of the NCLB.

If we accomplish one thing in the coming years—it should be to eliminate the extreme variation in standards across America.

I know that talking about standards can make people nervous—but the notion that we have 50 different goal posts is absolutely ridiculous.

A high school diploma needs to mean something—no matter where it's from.

We need standards that are college-ready and career-ready, and benchmarked against challenging international standards.

Earlier, Duncan told my colleague Alyson Klein that he would use stimulus money under his discretion to support efforts to increase the rigor of a state's standards. But his comments to ACE suggests he'll be pushing the issue in any reauthorization that happens under his watch.


Yes! Some will disagree with me, but I feel strongly that this is necessary if we are to be competitive in the world economy.

Now, we just have to make sure they are good standards....

Becki... I here what you are saying, but I think we need to approach things from the bottom up rather than the top down in education, to let the talents of all our kids bloom and contribute to the future of our country and the world.

The issue for me is that education is a personal thing involving the student, their family and any other adults (teachers perhaps) that play a role. To have education decsion making done so far away from the students, parents and teachers affected by those decisions seems the most ineffetive way to do it. National (or state for that matter) decision makers will never meet those students, parents and teachers and will never here from them directly.

It seems to me that schools should be designed, developed and controlled at the local level where students, parents and teachers can be the actual decision makers or at least talk to local education decision makers.

Rather than extensive national standards on what kids should learn and how teachers should be certified, I would rather see the federal government take a more facilitative leadership role, encouraging local communities to play a more active role managing their own schools and promoting profound educational alternatives, rather than a one-size-fits-all national curriculum.


I'm sure you noticed Randi Weingarten came out in favor of national standards in a Washington Post op-ed piece this morning (2/16). What do you think the NEA will say about this issue?

Comments are now closed for this post.


Recent Comments

  • Paul Hoss: David, I'm sure you noticed Randi Weingarten came out in read more
  • Cooper Zale: Becki... I here what you are saying, but I think read more
  • Becki Norris: Yes! Some will disagree with me, but I feel strongly read more



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