In the reflection of Obama’s speech comes a strong editorial from the NY Times with a clear explanation of why national standards are important:
The nation has a patchwork of standards that vary widely from state to state and a system under which he said “fourth-grade readers in Mississippi are scoring nearly 70 points lower than students in Wyoming — and they’re getting the same grade.” In addition, Mr. Obama said, several states have standards so low that students could end up on par with the bottom 40 percent of students around the globe.
I will add a personal reflection by a somewhat older relative of mine who grew up in the UK:
It is fascinating and so complicated in a federalized nation–much easier in the UK where we all took the exact same exams based on testing the same basic curricula all across the nation and — in those days — across the British Empire. I remember meeting Africans and Indians my age and we had all read the same Shakespeare play and Victorian novel for O Level exams.
I have yet to hear an argument against national standards by someone who would not lose power. I’m interested in the rebuttal.