CAROL’S SUMMARY: To gauge where we are against other developed and developing nations, national standards are an important benchmark. One of the national models currently in place in schools is provided by the American School Counselors Association (ASCA) . This model outlines a stair step program for students in K-12 in areas of academics, career exploration and personal skills. Certainly a “soft skills” model like this can be paired with other measurements like test scores, attendance, school involvement and grades. Overall, our schools will be tasked with producing students who can measure or exceed world class standards and who can also be world-class citizens. Those two goals aren’t mutually exclusive but need a dual emphasis to make that reality happen in the U.S.
Beyond national measurements, parents should be asking two important questions:
1) What experiences is my child having to promote learning, growth and understanding (these are often outside of school—in the community and the world)
2) To what extent is my child learning to work hard on behalf of his goals? (the
rest of the world has many smart people able to work two or more jobs to
make their goals happen)
To be world class, America needs students who can stand toe to toe, intellectually, with students in other countries. Two, they will need to learn to work just as hard as their foreign counterparts. Three, they will need to develop their leadership skills to be truthful, honest and ethical members of their communities and the companies for which they will someday work. If we can start with this vision in K-12 and promote this in what we teach with our teachers, parents and principals, we will have a nation of world-wide leaders—not just learned graduates—by 2020.
Governors’ Embrace Rooted in Competitiveness Concerns
By David J. Hoff
National standards—once the untouchable “third rail” of American education policy—now have the backing of the nation’s governors, a growing number of education leaders, and the U.S. secretary of education.
The National Governors Association last week adopted a policy statement endorsing a process to develop common academic standards by comparing student performance on international tests.
The governors join several education groups—the Council of the Great City Schools, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the American Federation of Teachers among them—in endorsing the idea that the nation should set a common definition of what students should know and be able to do.
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