The much-anticipated first draft of a national standards document has just been released.
Not surprisingly, there's great concern about how the standards will be used, but the fact that this is an idea that never seems to go away -- unlike so many other passing ideas in education -- suggests there is a need for all states to at least define what every student should know.
I'm reading Diane Ravitch's new book, "The Death and Life of the Great American School System." It explains the evolution of her well-known views on education reform - and repudiation of her views on charter schools, choice and some other reforms. But one point Ravitch has never strayed from is her belief that U.S. students need stronger standards and curriculum.
"Most states settled for 'standards' that were bland and soporific to avoid battles over what students should learn," she writes of the effects of No Child Left Behind. "Education reformers in the states and in the federal government endorsed tests of basic skills as the only possible common ground in education. The goal of testing was higher scores, without regard to whether students acquired any knowledge of history, science, literature, geography, the arts and other subjects that were not important for accountability purposes."
I'm looking forward to hearing Ravitch's views on the proposed common standards.