November 25, 1987

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Vol. 07, Issue 12
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Tests of professional skills can help establish meaningful standards for a given profession, which, in turn, can lead to improvements in the general level of professional competence. Such tests, however, must be generated by the profession being tested, not by government. With the recent appointment of the president and members of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the teaching profession is on its way to developing such standards.
Diane Ravitch and Chester E. Finn Jr. have written an illusory account of the state of literacy and historical knowledge among the nation's students. With its inflated title, What Do Our 17-Year-Olds Know? A Report on the First National Assessment of History and Literature, and the stingiest of disclaimers ("[the assessment] tests a representative sampling of knowledge but does not claim to test everything worth knowing in these two major fields"), this book is merely the latest bleak offering in this dismal season of school reform.
FOUNDATION SUPPORT: Coverage of specific topics in Education Week is supported in part by grants from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the CME Group Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, the Noyce Foundation, the Raikes Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. The newspaper retains sole editorial control over the content of the articles that are underwritten by the foundations. Additional grants in support of Editorial Projects in Education’s data journalism and video capacity come from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Schott Foundation for Public Education. (Updated 1/1/2017)

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