*Way* Under The Radar: National K-12 Curriculum Standard Being Mulled

I’m genuinely conflicted about this news – “Education Panel Unveils Core K-12 Standards”:

Long-standing fears that millions of U.S. students from elementary to high schools aren’t being adequately prepared for college or the workforce and that state standards vary too greatly have spurred a movement for a national core educational curriculum and the release Wednesday of draft standards for English language arts and math.

The release of the draft has been both welcomed and panned, with critics concerned that the standards could lead to a mass-assembly approach to general education or a greater reliance on standardized testing in education. The standards’ creators are now seeking public comment and they’ll probably get plenty.

Conflicted, in part, because it will put control over Public Education Standards in the hands of the Federal Government…I think…and I’m no fan of more Federal intervention in our lives. Having said that, I think our current system has failed our kids at many many levels. What escapes me is whether a “National” standard will be able to improve that situation. I have my doubts.

The cynical side of me worries that this will open the doors to so-called “indoctrination” and leave our kids at the mercy of the prevailing ideology of those in control of the Government (yeah-I went there…today it’s liberalism but at some point that will swing in the other direction). What we want is smart kids that can compete with the other kids around the globe when their time comes to go out into that great big world and motivate, innovate, create…and God forbid..PRO-create.

Here’s the link to the proposed standard. The top page of the site fairly well describes the intent. I should, however, in the interest of “fair and balanced fact sharing” point out the Texas side of this issue:

…the Texas Board of Education is voting and making changes to the curriculum for social studies, which has been adapted by publishers because they want to sell the books to Texas, which is one of the largest consumers of textbooks in the country, hence other states follow their lead.

Texas has routinely set the curriculum standard indirectly because of the numbers of books they have printed for their students. Many other states have had to choose between accepting the Texas standard or paying extra for books tailored to their own custom or unique versions of approved curricula. Typically it is much cheaper to just buy the Texas books than to go it alone. In a National standard (one which Texas and Alaska have thus far opted out of) there would be one set of books for everyone. Bingo! Money saved! Resources pooled!

I *get* the economics of this, and I *get* the upside to a National standard. The larger issue of what’s actually IN those books (and WHO decides what should go in those books) leaves me very troubled.