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Standards sought for math, English

Students across the nation might eventually use the same math and English textbooks and take the same tests if states adopt new rigorous standards proposed Wednesday by governors and education leaders.

Texas and Alaska have refused to join the project, and everyone from state legislatures to the nation's 10,000 local school boards and 3 million teachers could chime in with their opinions. The public is invited to comment on the proposed new standards until April 2. The developers hope to publish final education goals for K-12 math and English in May.

The state-led effort was coordinated by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. After the standards are complete, each state will have to decide whether to adopt them as a replacement for existing education goals.

Florida Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith said the draft of the new standards "truly seeks to make our children highly competitive in these critical subject areas."

As important as the adoption of the Common Core standards, Smith said, was how states chose to assess them. "It's vitally important that our conversations continue to focus on stronger accountability in our schools that is affordable, allows for a quick turnaround of results and is internationally benchmarked for every student."

But some critics worry the federal government will force them to adopt the results.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is helping pay for the effort, believes most states will value the new national standards, according to Vicki Phillips, director of the foundation's K-12 education program.

U.S. slipping: On Tuesday, Andreas Schleicher, a senior education official at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, told the Senate education committee that America's education advantage is eroding as a greater proportion of students in more countries graduate from high school and college and score higher on achievement tests than U.S. students. Among the 30 richest countries, "only New Zealand, Spain, Turkey and Mexico now have lower high school completion rates than the U.S.," Schleicher said.

Information from the Associated Press and the New York Times was used in this report.

Standards sought for math, English 03/10/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 10:34pm]
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