Standards: Putting It All Together
Alliance for Curriculum Reform
Created in 1991, the alliance is an umbrella organization of 30 groups, including the National Education Association, the Council for Basic Education, and the American Association of School Administrators. Many of the organizations developing national standards, such as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the National Science Teachers Association, are members. The alliance supports an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to implementing national standards and helps teachers incorporate the standards into their teaching methods. A task force examines each of the standards documents for commonalities, overlapping information, and support for other subject areas. The group has applied for private funding to develop a clearinghouse on standards activity. For more information: Denise McKeon, chairwoman, Alliance for Curriculum Reform, 200 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, Va. 22201; (703) 525-4035.
College Board Forum on Standards and Learning
The executive directors of six national subject-matter organizations banded together with the College Board to unify the standards across subject areas. The organizations are: the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Science Teachers Association, the National Council for the Social Studies, the Music Educators National Conference, and the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Members of the forum will spend four to five years reviewing the documents to form a more cohesive standards package for schools to implement. Education organizations are too divided and the standards movement has been too political, the College Board's vice president for academic affairs says. The forum seeks to unite education organizations and teachers to insure students receive the best education across disciplines. For more information: Robert Orrill, vice president for academic affairs, the College Board, 45 Columbus Ave., New York, N.Y., 10023; (212) 713-8304.
Council for Basic Education
The Council for Basic Education is seeking funds to produce a single document that is a "brief and coherent" account of the various standards documents. The document would be aimed at the "gatekeepers" of education--curriculum directors in states and local districts. It would focus on the core elements of knowledge that are essential for students to learn and would address how the various standards relate to each other. In addition, the council hopes to develop an on-line database of all the standards and make it available to districts on the Internet and on cd-rom. For more information: Patte Barth, assistant director, Council for Basic Education, 1319 F St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20004; (202) 347-4171.
Mid-Continent Regional Educational Laboratory
Analysts from the lab, which is funded by the U.S. Education Department, began reviewing standards documents and other reference materials in 1990 and published a report on standards and benchmarks in 1993. An update of the report, published last year, includes information on more than 150 standards and 1,500 benchmarks in mathematics, geography, history, and reading. The update also contains a description of standards-setting projects in various subject areas; key questions on standards issues for districts and schools; and other supplementary information on the national standards. The report can be found on the Worldwide Web at http://www.mcrel.org. The lab is also developing a database of content standards and benchmarks from various national education standards documents. The database should be completed by fall. For more information: Robert J. Marzano, executive director, Mid-Continent Regional Educational Laboratory, 2550 South Parker Rd., Suite 500, Aurora, Colo. 80014; Phone: (303) 337-0990, fax: (303) 337-3005.