Morning Bell: Time to Stand Up to the National Standards Agenda

Jennifer Marshall /

Last year, GM CEO Rick Wagoner “voluntarily” stepped aside when Washington took over his company. BP is “voluntarily” setting up a $20 billion escrow account. And now, states are being pushed to “voluntarily” adopt national education standards and tests.

It all began when the Obama administration used its $4.35 billion Race to the Top competitive grant fund as an incentive for states to adopt standards under development by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers (one of the “education blob” groups that protects the status quo against parent-empowering reforms). Initially, the competition was enough of an incentive to get 48 states – all but Alaska and Texas – to go along with the idea of national standards. Alaska and Texas chose not to apply for Race to the Top funding because of the provision requiring adoption of national standards. Texas Gov. Rick Perry stated that the Obama administration’s requirement that states adopt national standards “is an effort to undermine states’ authority to determine how their students are educated, and is clearly aimed at circumventing laws prohibiting national standards.”

Now other states are expressing concerns as well. Two more states – Minnesota and Virginia – have decided not to take part. Both Minnesota and Virginia argue that their state standards are stronger than the proposed national standards supported with federal dollars.