Ask Dr. Blank: Do you feel that we should have national education standards?

From a theoretical point of view, I am drawn to the idea of national education standards. It’s appealing to know both what students are expected to do and how they are doing in reaching those goals. But as a nation, we don’t do standards well. A case in point is the recent experience with what is known as the Common Core Standards which were launched in 2009 and intended to define the reading and math skills that students should be able to do at each grade level.  The “experts” who put it together could not have been more off target. For example, in first grade alone they listed 209 skills in math and 158 skills in language art that teachers were supposed to impart to their students. Each grade had comparable numbers and the categories were expanded so that in addition to math and language arts, there were also science (96 skills in 4th grade) and social studies (109 skills in that grade). The teachers were  offered no curricula that could ensure the mastery of these skills and no training in even learning what the skills precisely consisted of.  It’s embarrassing to think that a nation who put a man on the moon could even think of, let alone, implement a set of standards like this.

If you want to read more about this national tragedy, go to–common-co_b_9819736.html

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