Statement From Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, on Common Academic Standards
Washington, DC–Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, issued the following statement in reaction to the House Education and Labor Committee’s April 29 hearing on “Strengthening America’s Competitiveness through Common Academic Standards.”
“At a time when all of America’s students are competing against the best and the brightest from around the world, it makes no sense for students in Massachusetts to work toward one standard while students in Mississippi work toward another. Yet the nation continues to pretend that math in Boston is different than math in Biloxi.
“If the nation is to truly prepare all students in all schools for college, work, and the global economy, it must put an end to an education system that teaches polynomials in one city and balancing a checkbook in another city, while calling them both Algebra.
“Yesterday’s results on the 2008 NAEP Long-Term Trend Reading and Mathematics Assessments, which showed no improvement among American seventeen-year-olds in reading and math since the early 1970s, reflect why we are falling behind other nations. Common standards mean teaching to the best global standards of the twenty-first century not just continuing to have mediocre results reflecting the last century.
“Thankfully, there is a growing awareness among educators, policymakers, and politicians of the need for a common set of academic standards. Secretary Duncan has been clear that the Race to the Top Fund can help drive these efforts. And today, the members of the House Education and Labor Committee further underscored the need for academic standards that are fewer, clearer, and higher than those currently used by most states.
“The process for developing these standards must be state-led, inclusive, voluntary, and transparent. Stakeholders at all levels must be included in this process to ensure that the resulting standards are adopted and drive improvement in student achievement.
“The standards themselves must be internationally benchmarked to reflect the demands of higher education, business, and the global economy and set a ‘high floor’ of common expectations for students on which each state could build. They must also be independently validated to ensure their quality, transparency, and integrity.”
# # #
The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington-based policy, research, and advocacy organization that works to make every child a graduate, prepared for postsecondary education and success in life.