My wife, son and I had this very conversation about 3 weeks ago. We talked about it would be difficult to adopt National Standards because the States have rights given to them by the Constitution to rule themselves in some aspects.
I read in the New York Times today that a group of panelists have gotten together and formed a committee to create National Standards for math and English. I think this is the best thing to happen to education in a long time. This was tried before by the National government during the Bush and Clinton years in the 1990’s. This time it is being brought from the states. Several states have worked on this proposal, and two have declined, Texas and Alaska. I am not surprised they didn’t help with this, becuase they believe that they should have the right to decide what their State should be teaching its children. That’s their right. BUT! I believe that if are to be successful in competing with other nations around the world we need to unite as The United States and create our own national standards.
Here is My Thinking
National all around the globe tell us their national scores in math, science, reading, writing, and social studies from their students. They give us a true national score. We do not since we have 50 States each doing their own standards. These foreign countries have stream-lined their content, objectives, and benchmarks to make education a successful aspect of life. I believe that some states here are successful, and other states fail. We do not record a true national score because of this.
I believe the reason we are continually falling behind other countries in education is because we don’t have the sense of unity when it comes to educating our children. The reason these experts only did math and English is because science is too controversial. Science teachers and scientists have the Evolution/Creation argument for so long that our children will continually farther and farther behind while they argue. Its not helpful to our children and to our teachers who have to teach the content.
I know that there are some pros and cons to having a national standard for math, science, social studies, and English. I know that parents will say that their child is not the typical child and the standards won’t help them. I believe it will, because these students with the help of their intervention specialists from either Special education or Gifted education can be successful. Teachers need to have the content stream-lined. I said stream-lined not cut or limited. Right now teachers have so many standards for math that students need to be taught a new concept everyday just to stay a float. I know that some of those standards could be combined or matched with concepts that could naturally go hand-in-hand.
I believe that some states will feel they are loosing their identities. Its not true. These experts are taking what is the best from each state and incorporating them into a large document. This way states that are failing can be brought up. Those that are successful will continue to be successful. Just like in the classroom it is important to take the best practices and apply them to the classroom. States need to do that as well.
I know that national standards won’t be the fix all to our educational issues, but I feel it is a move in the right direction. We have have other issues that come into play. We need to prepare our pre-service teachers better. With national standards we can show them right of the bat what they will be teaching anywhere they get a job. We also need to continually work with parents, to help our children be successful at school. We need to show parents that they are an important part of their child’s educational success. Children need support at home and at school. We need to make our schools and classrooms more student-centered. We need to let students lead a little bit and take some control and responsibility of their education.
Let’s support these groups working to better our educational system for our children. Contact your state Govenor, Senators, and Representatives and tell them you want them to endorse National Standards for Education.