No Child Left Behind Was Designed to Create a National Standard

It is possible that some students and some schools deemed to be failing in one state would get passing grades in another under the No Child Left Behind law, a national study found.

The study underscores wide variation in academic standards from state to state. It was to be issued today by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which conducted the study with the Kingsbury Center at the Northwest Evaluation Association.

We need to have a uniform graduation standard. If we look at the countries which do well on international tests like the PISA or TIMSS examinations, we see that they have uniform national standards while in America we have state standards which vary from place to place.

Every state, Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education stated, needs standards that make kids college- and career-ready and are benchmarked against international standards.

The Fordham study found the schools failed to meet yearly progress goals in states with more rigorous standards, such as Massachusetts. But they met yearly progress goals in states with lower standards, such as Arizona and Wisconsin. Under No Child Left Behind, states have a patchwork of rules that vary from state to state, the study said.

It is unlikely the Obama administration or Congress will try to force states to adopt the same standards.

Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.4 million-member American Federation of Teachers, wrote an op-ed piece in The Washington Post arguing for national standards.

“Every other industrialized nation has national standards,” Weingarten said in an interview. “When you start thinking about how are we going to create a school system throughout the United States that helps enable kids to be prepared for college, prepared for life and prepared for work, you have to start with common standards,” she said.