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The Power of Standards

July 4, 2016

Good morning and happy Fourth of July!  More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson (and four other founding fathers) penned the Declaration of Independence to declare to the world their Independence from Great Britain.  In so doing, they set the standard for the nation when they wrote:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

In a way, these immortal words are like state educational standards in than they declare what the goal is for the new country.  This morning, I read a great article from the US News and World Report on the power of Massachusetts’ educational standards.  The key phrase that I took from the piece:

(S)chools can achieve at much higher levels.

That’s really the ultimate goal of the standards: to make our schools better by improving the quality of instruction.  Clearly, according to the article, setting high standards serves our students well by providing common goals to strive and attain.  The proof is in the pudding:

Only three educational systems worldwide statistically outperformed Massachusetts in reading, and only six in science and nine in math. If all students in the United States were performing at the level of high-schoolers in Massachusetts, our country would be at the top of the pack among peer nations.

Each summer for the last twenty years, I have spent time figuring out what I plan on teaching to my students.  It is a welcome break to know that this year, as I prepare for my new job, I won’t have to do that.




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