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Sunday, 9th May 2010

New Study: High-Standards States Far Exceed National Standards

New Study: High-Standards States Far Exceed National Standards
Source: Pacific Research Institute

A new study by two nationally known curricular experts evaluates and critiques the proposed draft national standards in math and English. The new study, Fair to Middling: A National Standards Progress Report , is the second in-depth analysis of the standards, and is jointly published by the Pioneer Institute in Massachusetts and the Pacific Research Institute (PRI) in California.

Fair to Middling provides a detailed comparison of the March draft standards being proposed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) and standards currently in place in states recognized to have high standards—California, Indiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas. The report is authored by Stanford University Mathematician Dr. R. James Milgram and Dr. Sandra Stotsky, a member of the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education who in the late 1990s oversaw the creation of Massachusetts' curriculum frameworks in the English language arts, mathematics, science/engineering, and history and social science.

The CCSSI, which is developing the draft K-12 mathematics and English national standards, was formed in 2009 by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to negotiate standards that could be adopted by all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The CCSSI effort has the explicit encouragement of the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE).

Adoption was originally going to be voluntary, but the Obama administration subsequently made adopting the national standards a criterion for receipt of federal "Race to the Top" grant funding. The administration has also floated the idea of making adoption of the new national standards a condition for receipt of federal Title I education funding.

"Early on, the Race to the Top was a set of incentives to advance state reforms that would lift student achievement," says Jim Stergios, executive director of Pioneer Institute. "The administration's current course on standards, if they do not undergo serous revision, will instead encourage states to turn their backs on proven reforms."

+ Full Report (PDF; 1.1 MB)


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