Governors Proposal Offers National Academic Standards

03.10.10 | FL News Team

Governors and state school chiefs have drafted a set of national education standards that would apply to all public schools nationwide. The "Washington Post" nabbed a copy ahead of its release today. They report that the plan already has the blessing of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has been urging public school reform. The new standards would have high school freshman reading Homer's "The Odyssey," while eighth graders would learn the basics of both algebra and geometry.

 The daunting task of figuring out what American kids should learn and when they should learn it evaded both previous administrations. President George W. Bush left the matter up to states under the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act. Many states simply lowered their benchmarks so they could goose up the numbers of kids getting high marks. While the Obama administration had no part in the governors' and school chiefs' actions, the "Post" reports that it fits with his call to raise academic standards.

 The new standards would mean new textbooks, additional teacher training and an overhaul in school curriculums nationwide. Only Alaska and Texas have resisted the call for national standards, which are voluntary. Kentucky became the first state to adopt them last month, based on a draft of the proposal.