Now AFT President Randi Weingarten is making a case for national standards. In this Washington Post commentary, Weingarten says it is time to revisit the need for a common set of rigorous standards for all U.S. children if we are to be competitive with high-performing countries that already have such a system in place.
“I am not talking about federal standards for every subject taught in American public schools, nor am I proposing that state and local education authorities lose all say on curriculum,” she writes. “I certainly am not suggesting that teachers be forced to provide instruction in a scripted, lock-step manner, unable to tailor lessons or draw on their own expertise.”
Weingarten acknowledges that agreeing on standards will not be easy, and she wants to ensure that teachers’ judgment in the classroom is honored.
“Education is a local issue, but there is a body of knowledge about what children should know and be able to do that should guide decisions about curriculum and testing,” the piece continues. “I propose that a broad-based group -- made up of educators, elected officials, community leaders, and experts in pedagogy and particular content -- come together to take the best academic standards and make them available as a national model.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.