Sizing Up State Standards 2008

Liam Julian

American Federation of Teachers
2008

The AFT is well known and much praised for its firm insistence on "coherent content standards" and since 1995 has periodically appraised state standards for clarity, specificity, classroom utility, etc. This year's review of state standards--spanning elementary, middle, and high school standards in English, math, science and social studies--found that only Virginia "meets the AFT criteria for strong standards in all levels and subjects." Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin had no strong standards. Other states were, of course, somewhere in between.  The report offers recommendations, useful if sometimes obvious, such as the need for states to "bring specific United States and world history into their early elementary standards" and to "describe what high school students should know and be able to do by course." The full document is available here.