Jeb Bush: Public School Standards Inadequate

Friday, 24 Jun 2011 11:58 AM

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Current public school academic standards are too low, resulting in high-school diplomas that aren’t “worth the paper they are printed on,” former Florida governor Jeb Bush argued in an Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal.

Bush, along with co-author Joel Klein, former head of the New York City schools, called for the adoption of national education standards developed jointly by the states.

The two noted that students today no longer compete with peers in other towns, but with students around the world.

“Yet in all but a very few states, current academic standards of educational performance are too low. A recent analysis by ACT, the respected national organization responsible for college admissions tests, concluded that three-fourths of the young men and women entering colleges ‘were not adequately prepared academically for first-year college courses.’ In other words, their high-school diplomas weren't worth the paper they were printed on.”

Bush and Klein made clear they were not calling for yet another national directive but instead adoption of the “Common Core State Standards,” which were voluntarily drawn up by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers with the help of teachers and school administrators.

“The standards provide a framework of clear and consistent skills for math and English. Already some 43 states and the District of Columbia have signed up to adopt the standards for English and math in lieu of their previous requirements.”

However, while the standards define what a student should know, they do not mandate how to teach or how to learn, powers left in the hands of the states.

“It is the states' responsibility to foster an education system that leads to rising student achievement,” Bush and Klein conclude. “State leaders, educators, teachers and parents are empowered to ensure every student has access to the best curriculum and learning environment. Governors and lawmakers across the country are acting to adopt bold education reform policies. This is the beauty of our federal system. It provides 50 testing sites for reform and innovation. The Common Core State Standards are an example of states recognizing a problem, then working together, sharing what works and what doesn't.”


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