Crawling toward national tests
Two leaders of the necessarily slow and difficult movement to give American children everywhere the educations they deserve dropped by the Post last week at the invitation of my distinguished colleague David Broder and provided an update on the future of national standards and tests.
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, who heads up the National Governors Association efforts on this issue, and former North Carolina Gov. James B. Hunt Jr., the godfather of education standards in America, indicated a large majority of states will agree on common core standards very soon, but a common test is at least five years away.
They were careful to use the word "common," not "national," for what they and a legion of educators across the country are doing. "National" to them sounds too much like "federal." They want it clear that this is an area where law and tradition give the power to the states, and they are certain they can do a better job than Congress.
Eventually, they suggested, a common test will make sure every state is following the common standards and will allow each state to set its own passing score. But over time, they said, it should be clear to all that kids in Mississippi should be shooting for the same achievement levels as those in Connecticut. This will all take a while, with some setbacks to be expected, but that is the way this movement has proceeded for the last 30 years. I think we are in a better place now, in terms of what our children are learning, than we were then. It has been mostly marginal improvement, but as time passes, small steps grow into big ones.
| February 23, 2010; 1:35 PM ET
Categories: Jay on the Web | Tags: Jack Markell, James B. Hunt Jr, common standard, common tests, national education standards
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