A Nonexistent Benefit of Uniform Standards
From an editorial in the Kansas City Star:
Charter schools and lab schools would have a framework within which to experiment.
This is put forward as an argument in favor of uniform education standards across states — that a national standard will help charter schools experiment better!
I can’t imagine how any government standards would do that. But even if I’m wrong, and standards are an important ingredient in innovation, charters already have the state standards to work from. Currently, charters can choose from 50 different standards and pick whichever ones would help them innovate best.
(How does that work? They look at the traditional district standards and say, “This is what we need to not follow if we want to experiment?”)
Besides a benevolent desire to help charters experiment, which assistance no charter I know of has requested, standards enthusiasts are motivated by cold, hard cash. I call it “Race to the Tax Dollars;” Arne Duncan calls it “Race to the Top.” A Post-Dispatch editorial describes the matter with customary candor:
More than $4 billion in federal stimulus funds are being devoted to a national “Race to the Top Fund” to support innovation and leadership in the nation’s public K-12 schools. Some $350 million of that will go to states that have signed onto the new standards.
Notice that bribing all states to do the same thing is called “innovation.” I think this is the kind of innovation standards supporters have in mind for charter schools.