Education Roundup: Why Don’t We Have a National Curriculum?

Marjory Collins/Zumapress

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  • There’s a battle brewing over common curriculum standards in math and English, Education Week reports. All but six states have adopted the common curriculum standards, which essentially means 8th graders in Missouri will be taught the same material as 8th graders in New York. And since September of last year, the US Department of Education has financed two testing groups to develop these standards. But 100 conservative business, political, and education leaders—led by William Evers, the former assistant secretary of policy in George W. Bush’s Education Department—have now signed a manifesto stating that they don’t want the federal government controlling what students learn in school.
  • Remember Tanya McDowell, the homeless, single mother in Connecticut who may face up to 20 years in prison and $15,000 in fines for using her friend’s address to enroll her son in a better kindergarten? She’s asking prosecutors to drop the charges against her so the school district can handle her case administratively. Out of 26 other families who purposely enrolled their children in Norwalk school under wrong addresses, McDowell was the only one arrested.
  • Where are the lowest-performing schools in the country? Short answer: California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Washington DC, and Wisconsin. The Hechinger Report follows federal money going to the worst schools in the country. On the list of failing schools, charter schools were overrepresented.
  • The US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights issued this reminder to public schools: Discouraging undocumented children or their parents from enrolling students in public school violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Apparently, many states have tried to bar undocumented students from their school system (I’m looking at you Oklahoma), but none have succeeded yet.
  • Last, what do teachers really want? Collaborative working environments, supportive leadership, more say in the policy decisions that govern their work, and more respect, reports the Huffington Post.

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