August 18, 2010
by Tammy Drennan, NEO Senior Writer
Vermont makes state number 36 to sign on to the latest education reform fad: National, or Common, Standards.
Who will benefit from common standards?
First, let's face it, what's currently taught at what grade levels in what schools across the nation hardly differs enough to be called uncommon standards.
The other day I was reading a memoir in which the author recounted having to write a "country report" in the sixth grade. Yup, I thought, I had to do that in the sixth grade, too. The only uncommon thing was that she chose Afghanistan and I chose Paraguay .
What constitutes passing a particular course from state to state doesn't amount to some vast imbalance, either.
This big common standards hullabaloo is hardly a revolution -- for students, anyway.
But there are plenty of people who have a lot to be excited about: curriculum designers and sellers, grant and federal funding seekers (that includes a whole range of people and groups, from schools to special interests), test makers. The list could go on, but you probably get the picture.
Let me make an observation, after the obligatory caveat — lots of the people involved in this movement are good, well-intentioned people: Think of a pack of hungry wolves, dressed as sheep, stalking real sheep, waiting till their ground is secured to shed their disguises.
If it weren't for the fact that children suffer and taxpayers are defrauded by these endless reform schemes, we could watch as if it were an amusing play: Act I, Act II, Act CXXIV. But children do suffer and taxpayers are defrauded and it's not funny.