Thought of the Day: Having Educational Standards are Good. Having Good Educational Standards is Better.

I was watching an interview of Bill Gates on C-SPAN (Yes, I watch C-SPAN at times, and I think more people should!)  Most of his interview was about the Ebola outbreak, but he also was asked about Common Core.  His basic response was to give an analogy about how the U.S. would be if we didn’t have standards in voltage for power outlets, or different track widths in the railroads in each state.

His analogy has some merit on the surface.  But, he didn’t give the example about feet, inches, yards, and miles…  We have a U.S. standard for distances (and other measurements), that is different from nearly the rest of the world, and our standard has caused problems with engineering, lagged down our economy, and no one yet has found an effective way to change it.   The QWERTY keyboard is another example of a standard that no one has been able to effectively change on a widespread basis, despite being clearly a poorer standard.  (And no, I don’t buy the arguments made by “Reason” Magazine on this topic).

So with the standardization of educational outcomes from the Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards, we should ask ourselves “are these the right standards”.   And, this is where there has not been enough work done to answer that question.

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