Nationalization of Schools to Begin

March 10, 2010 at 10:27 (Constitution/Constitutional Issues, Education, News, Society)

Bad idea. Why would ANYONE put these people in charge of ANYTHING that more properly resides with the States, the People, or just the private sector in general? Bet the chapter on the Constitution will be optional once they get their claws in.

SEATTLE — Math and English instruction in the United States moved a step closer to uniform — and more rigorous — standards Wednesday as draft new national guidelines were released.

Supporters of the project led by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers hope the lists of things kids should learn at each grade level will replace a patchwork of systems across the country.

The effort is expected to lead to standardization of textbooks and testing and make learning easier for students who move from state to state.

The federal government recently opened bidding for $350 million to work on new national tests that would be given to students in states that adopt the national standards.

People involved in the effort endorsed by 48 states, two territories and the District of Columbia said the new standards will raise expectations of student achievement in some states and be in line with the educational expectations of top-performing states and countries.

Unlike most efforts to revise standards at a state level, this document was not built on consensus, said Chris Minnich, director of standards and assessment for the Council of Chief State School Officers.

“We really used evidence in an unprecedented fashion,” Minnich said Monday.

In contrast, states that have engaged in consensus-building have not made the tough decisions about what should be contained in the standards and what shouldn’t, Minnich said.

Some have criticized the process, saying adoption of the new standards will not be voluntary.

“First they tried to tie it to Race to the Top money … now they’re trying to tie it to Title I funds,” said Robert Scott, Texas’ commissioner of education.

President Barack Obama told the nation’s governors last month that he wants to make Title I dollars for public schools contingent on adoption of college- and career-ready reading and math standards, but the president said the states would not be required to adopt the coalition’s standards.

Texas and Alaska are the only states not participating in the national standards effort and Texas also opted out of the federal Race to the Top competition for $4.35 billion for education reform.

“Texas has chosen to preserve its sovereign authority to determine what is appropriate for Texas children to learn in its public schools,” Scott wrote in a letter to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. “It is clear that the first step toward nationalization of our schools has been put into place.”

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