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Mum likes reading, decorating, shopping with the girls, and Starbucks. She also feels funny writing in the 3rd person. Papa (also known as Sparky) is currently looking at me with a blank stare having asked him to add something about himself to the blog. (Now he wants to say something) The only thing he loves more in life than music and Coke is his wife and kids. (Awww...) :) Little Lotte is a genius on the computer and makes me fall over laughing every day with her quick wit. She loves computers and animals. Sweet Pea abandoned her family and moved to Phoenix for work and is now married as of 2/28/06. She is beautiful and smart and the most nurturing person I know. She gave me the greatest gift ever when she made me a grandmother. I am the proud Mum Mum to Andrew Christopher. There are no words to describe the joy of having a grandson!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I probably shouldn't stand on my soap box when I have a fever but...

When I began my masters degree, I focused on what I thought was obvious - we needed national standards. I wrote several papers about it and every time I did, a professor would always say - wow, great idea. I thought it was an OBVIOUS idea!

I could feel the rumblings in education - the beginnings of NCLB were planted and I knew that we, as educators with no voice about how to educate children, were in for a rough ride. I felt that having national standards would alleviate the pressure we would feel to "leave no child left behind". How can I do that when a child moves here from another state where their state standards were not as rigorous as ours are? (Or the opposite, a child comes here from a state with higher standards and is way ahead of the class and needs some challenging work. Gifted students are seriously left to stagnate because we are more concerned with getting the scores of the low kids up so our school isn't failing but that's another post and this is a run-on sentence!) It just made sense that we should have a national standard since the President wanted cookie cutter kids. If we want cookie cutter kids we need a cookie cutter curriculum and thus, cookie cutter standards.

I hate, hate, hate when the federal government, when ASKED to be involved, says, "OH NO! WE COULDN'T POSSIBLY INTERVENE! THAT'S TOTALLY FOR SURE UP TO THE STATES TO MAKE THE STANDARDS - WE DON'T WANT TO BE TOO INVOLVED IN STATE'S CHOICE!" That arguments doesn't make sense AT ALL when the whole reason we are where we are educationally is BECAUSE of the federal government stepping over their boundaries and getting their nose all up in education. Either it's a state right or it's not. Make up your mind.

NCLB is NOT going away. So just slap a national standard on it and be done with it.

Published Online: August 14, 2007
Published in Print: August 15, 2007
Legislators Oppose National Standards
By Michele McNeil

The National Conference of State Legislatures has taken a hard line against any form of national academic standards, declaring last week that any national attempt to unite school curricula across states would be unacceptable until perceived flaws in the federal No Child Left Behind Act are fixed.
The strongly worded new policy against national standards—even voluntary ones—prompted virtually no debate and was approved on a voice vote during the Denver-based group’s business meeting at its annual conference here, which drew nearly 9,000 attendees from Aug. 5-9. NCSL policies such as the new one on national standards set the Washington lobbying agenda of the legislative group.

The policy reads, in part: “We need rigorous state standards that are anchored in real world demands. … This can be most readily accomplished through individual state refinement of standards … not through federal action—which flies in the face not only of the role of states since the inception of our system of providing education, but the historical role of states and local school districts in funding education with diminished federal support.”

Much of the group’s opposition to national standards is rooted in its dislike for the NCLB law, which is up for reauthorization before Congress. The NCSL, which has been among the most unified, vocal critics of the federal school accountability law, issued a report in February 2005 calling for more flexibility for states.

“The idea of going to national standards when we’re dealing with a system that has imposed itself on all 50 states—with the emphasis on process—would at best be premature,” New York state Sen. Stephen Saland, a Republican, said at last week’s ncsl meeting. Sen. Saland was a co-chairman of the group’s task force on the federal education law. “This would not be the time.”

The new policy states that NCLB “arbitrarily overidentifies failure … driving states to broaden the definition of proficiency and/or relax standards.”

NCSL education policy official David Shreve, who drafted the national standards proposal on behalf of the committee, dubbed it the “No way, José, policy.” The policy does encourage states, if they wish, to participate in other efforts to make academic standards more uniform and rigorous, such as the Washington-based Achieve Inc.’s American Diploma Project, which is trying to improve U.S. high schools.

But not all states participating in the committee meeting agreed with the policy’s severe stance. Among those that balked were Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas. The committee includes multiple members from each state, and even some state delegations were split.

The legislators’ reasons for supporting or rejecting the policy involved more than just national standards, and often reflected the broader debate over the federal education law.

“I think this is very negative,” Nevada Sen. Barbara K. Cegavske, a Republican, said of the proposed policy. “Not everyone is against No Child Left Behind.”


Blogger Archeron said...

You are SPOT on. They don't want to do that, because then they couldn't just sit in the peanut gallery and critique education. They would be a part of the "solution", instead of just saying, "this is broken, so fix it".

There SHOULD be national standards, AND teachers should be able to use those to obtain a national certification, which would allow someone to move from New Hampshire to Colorado and still teach without having to go through the requisite red tape of taking state constitution classes and the like.

7:25 AM  

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