Monday, December 28, 2015
Who Should Set Education Standards In The United States ?
I must admit that the results of this Rasmussen Poll bothers me a lot. It seems that only 21% of Americans believe the federal government should set the education standards for the schools in this country, while a whopping 71% think the state or local governments should set those standards.
This makes no sense to me. Why shouldn't there be a minimum national standard sett for all the students in this country? That's the only way our schools will be able to meet the needs of the future. We are already falling behind other countries in educational achievement, and it's probably because too many states and localities refuse to adhere to coherent national standards. For instance, Texas gave up a ton of federal education money because they refused to promise to meet national education standards.
Everyone will say they want our students to get a good education, but refusing to adhere to national standards is not the way to get that done. There are a group of mostly Southern, Republican, and evangelical-dominated states who want to teach religion instead of science and conservative propaganda instead of actual history. The students in these states get an inferior education.
No state has ever been prevented from exceeding the federal standards (and some states actually do that) -- but only for failing to at least meet those standards. The right-wing evangelicals seem to have been very successful in promoting local control over education. While I don't object to local control over schools, that control should not extend to promoting inferior education standards -- and too often that is exactly what happens.
We are failing our students in this country. And we will continue to fail them as long as we care more about who is setting the standards that what the standards are.
The chart above is from a Rasmussen Poll -- done on December 16th and 17th of a random national sample of 1,000 adults, with a margin of error of 3 points.