Forty-six states agree to write national standards
What Ronald Peiffer, the deputy state superintendent, said he could not conceive of just nine years ago has happened.
In today's paper, a story details how 46 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands all agreed, at least conceptually, that classrooms ought to be teaching toward the same set of high standards.
For nearly the past decade, the country has been trying to ensure that every child got a minimum education. Now it appears we are moving to recognize that the minimum is not enough and that we have to raise our expectations if we are going to compete with foreign countries. To do that we should have national curriculum standards.
But that is no small task, as Peiffer sees it, in a nation that historically has given even the smallest school systems the right to decide what their children would learn. If they want to teach creationism, so be it. If they want to teach whole language or phonics, the choice was theirs.
States' rights were so clear that Peiffer didn't see how it would change quickly. But the states have taken the first steps. The arguing may come later when the standards are made public.