June 1, 2009

Texas, South Carolina, Missouri, and Alaska

I know that the reports of the common-standards agreement shepherded by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association describe a few different reasons for why four states have not joined in a standards framework that is probably going to be about as close to a less-is-more approach as one can get in a bureaucratic standards document. Yes, I know Texas has just drafted standards (as has Florida, which is joining), that Missouri is searching for a new state superintendent (my guess is others are as well), that South Carolina has Mark Sanford (which is enough for any state to deal with), and that we haven't heard from Alaska. But here are my imaginary real reasons for why these states have opted out (thus far):

  • Other states refused to agree that everyone in the country would have to pronounce Harry Truman's state as mizZURah.
  • Texas would have to admit that bidness is not a word.
  • South Carolina did not get its way that there would be history standards with the required benchmark, "All six-year-olds will understand that each state is required to have at least one completely nutty elected official at all times, and this is a heritage of the Founders." 
  • There was a riot, not when Alaska insisted that NAEP math exams all use the Iditarod as an example of measure, rate, and general all-round toughness (other states just wanted to add their own events), but instead fisticuffs broke out when the Alaska rep. insisted that the current accepted size of the Earth was incorrect because if it was as large as most people thought, then you couldn't see Russia from your house.

Unfortunately, I suspect that the truth is far less entertaining. That's okay. We still have Joe Biden and George Will to mangle the facts in an interesting way.

Addendum: Lest anyone think I am making fun of other states, I should be very clear: I grew up in California in the 1970s, and I now live in Florida. That's enough ridiculous states to live in for a lifetime!

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Posted in Education policy on June 1, 2009 9:54 AM |