Set State School Standards High

Published August 3, 2010

I do not doubt the sincerity of California State Board of Education President Ted Mitchell (“Common, demanding standards would help state’s schools excel,” Open Forum, July 30) or The Chronicle’s editors (“The right standards,” Editorial, July 30) when they argue the merits of adopting the Common Core State Standards Initiative. But they’re wrong just the same.

Mitchell says the standards would “establish a measure of where California’s students stand in comparison to other students throughout the nation.” We have that right now. It’s called the National Assessment of Educational Progress, and most everyone agrees it is perhaps the most objective evaluation of what America’s 4th, 8th and 12th graders know about reading, math, and civics.

Meantime, the editors urge the state board of education “to err on the side of higher additional standards rather than lower ones.” Fact is, California’s standards are among the highest in the country. Could they be better? Sure. But do we really want to hand off those decisions to an unaccountable panel of anonymous experts employed by the National Governors Association? Do we still need to recite the arguments for states as “laboratories of democracy”?

Ben Boychuk
Managing Editor, School Reform News
The Heartland Institute, Chicago