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Think Out Loud

Changing Standards for Schools

Pete Springer/OPB

Nearly half of Oregon schools failed to meet federal benchmarks this year. Schools did better last year, but each year, the standards get tougher for schools under the 2002 “No Child Left Behind” law. Adopted under President George W. Bush, “No Child Left Behind” focuses on standardized testing, making it unpopular with teachers. A reauthorization of the bill has been stalled in Congress since 2007. Without a significant overhaul, the standards will continue to rise and 100 percent of public school students in the country will have to demonstrate proficiency on math and reading tests by 2014.

A handful of states have said they will ignore the rising federal standards and many more will seek waivers from the U.S. Department of Education. While the process for acquiring waivers has yet to be announced, it looks like states will be required to adopt the “common core” standards. These standards were designed by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers to ensure that the same basic curriculum in math and reading across stretch state lines. The majority of states, including Oregon, have already adopted “common core” standards. Last month, Washington became the 44th state to sign on.

Are you a student, a teacher or a parent of a child in public school? What would you like to see when it comes to school curriculum requirments and benchmarks? What have you seen that works — or doesn’t — in your school?


  • Rob Manning: Reporter for OPB News
curriculum education politics

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