Federal Federal File

Spellings Pans U.S. Standards

By Alyson Klein — June 19, 2007 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Attention local-control advocates: Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings isn’t planning on pushing for national standards in the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, scheduled for this year.

Writing on The Washington Post’s op-ed page June 9, Ms. Spellings said that states’ standards might vary significantly, especially when compared against the National Assessment of Educational Progress. She cited a report released by the Department of Education this month finding such variation. (“State Tests, NAEP Often a Mismatch,” June 13, 2007.)

But she said she doesn’t think national tests are the answer.

A national exam “goes against more than two centuries of American educational tradition,” Ms. Spellings wrote. “Neighborhood schools deserve neighborhood leadership, not dictates from bureaucrats thousands of miles away.”

The commentary could have been aimed squarely at Republicans in Congress who are wary of renewing the law, in part because of fears that the measure treads on states’ rights to determine what students should learn, some observers said.

“President Bush is going to have considerable trouble getting Republicans lined up behind reauthorization. National standards are not an idea that’s very popular with the Republican base,” said Jack Jennings, the president of the Center on Education Policy, a Washington-based research and advocacy organization. He served as an aide to Democrats on the House education committee from 1967 to 1994.

“I really think she’s playing to the Republican base,” Michael J. Petrilli, a vice president of the Washington-based Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, said of the secretary. Mr. Petrilli, who served in the Education Department during President Bush’s first term, said her message was, essentially, “you may not like NCLB, but at least we’re not calling for a national test, like some.”

Mr. Petrilli favors national standards, but said they could be devised by states working together, rather than drafted by the federal government.

So far, there hasn’t been much to signal that Congress would ask the secretary to develop a set of national standards, although Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, introduced a bill in January that would encourage states to benchmark their standards and tests to NAEP.

“I don’t detect great enthusiasm on the part of Democrats [in Congress] for national standards,” Mr. Jennings said.

See Also

For more stories on this topic see our Federal news page.

For background, previous stories, and Web links, read Standards.

A version of this article appeared in the June 20, 2007 edition of Education Week


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Feds to Probe Whether Texas Ban on School Mask Mandates Violates Disability Rights Laws
The Education Department has already opened investigations in six other states that ban universal school mask requirements.
2 min read
A staff member holds the door open for kids on the first day of school at Goodwin Frazier Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020.
A staff member holds the door open at Goodwin Frazier Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas in 2020. This year, Texas has prohibited school districts from requiring all students to wear masks.
Mikala Compton/Herald-Zeitung via AP
Federal New Federal Team to Work on Puerto Rico School Improvement, Oversight
The Puerto Rico Education Sustainability Team will focus on creating better learning environments and improving financial management.
3 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits the Emilio Delgado School in Corozal on June 30, 2021 during a visit to Puerto Rico.
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits the Emilio Delgado School in Corozal on June 30, 2021 during a visit to Puerto Rico.
Teresa Canino Rivera/GDA via AP
Federal Pandemic Tests Limits of Cardona's Collaborative Approach as Education Secretary
He's sought the image of a veteran educator among former peers, but COVID has forced him to take a tough stance toward some state leaders.
10 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter speak to Mia Arias, 10, during their visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 in New York.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter speak to Mia Arias, 10, during a visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, last month.
Brittainy Newman/AP
Federal White House Launches Hispanic Education Initiative Led by Miguel Cardona
President Joe Biden said his administration intends to address the "systemic causes" of educational disparities faced by Hispanic students.
2 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona writes down and draws positive affirmations on poster board with students during his visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 in New York.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits students in New York City at P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school in the Bronx last month.
Brittainy Newman/AP