“Standards are intended as a statement of what students should learn, or what they should have accomplished, at particular stages of their schooling,” according to the evaluators of state mathematics standards, Ralph A. Raimi, professor emeritus of mathematics at the University of Rochester, and Lawrence S. Braden of St. Paul’s School, New Hampshire.
While goals for basketball players and musicians are well known, Raimi and Braden note that no such agreement exists regarding the core academic program for elementary and secondary education in the United States today. After flunking more than half of the state’s mathematics standards, they argue that nothing less than an A is acceptable.
“A state, after all, is not a child to be graded for promise or for effort; the failure of a state to measure up to the best cannot be excused for lack of sleep the night before the exam,” note Raimi and Lerner. “The failure of almost every state to delineate even that which is to be desired in the way of mathematics education constitutes a national disaster.”