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Why National Standards and Tests?

Why National Standards and Tests?
Politics and the Quest for Better Schools

April 1998 | 216 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The common view today is that the public schools are not good enough and that something must be done to make them better. Setting higher academic standards is one way to raise the educational achievement of students. Why wonÆt the idea of national standards and tests go away? How did the country get on the road to establishing such standards in the first place? Author John F. Jennings gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at how Congress and the Executive Branch have wrestled with this issue and reviews the major debates about whether or not there should be testable national standards for all American schools. In addition, the book presents an informative and provocative account of how national leaders in business and government encouraged setting higher academic standards by establishing national standards for the schools; proposing national tests to measure academic mastery by students; and aiding states and school districts to develop their own standards and tests. Researchers and academic practitioners in public policy, educational administration, evaluation, and testing will find this book compelling readingùparticularly as the debate is replayed across the country as state boards of education and local school boards go about the work of requiring, writing, and implementing higher standards for students and schools.

The Need to Improve the Schools
Why Raising Student Achievement through Higher Standards Was First Proposed

Origins of National Standards and Tests
How President Bush, Corporate Leaders and the Governors First Advanced the Idea of Raising Standards

The 1992 Presidential Campaign and the Transition to a New Administration
How Bush and Clinton Differed on Education, but How Clinton Continued the Fight for Higher Standards That Bush Began

Goals 2000 in the US House of Representatives
How Liberals Expressed Concerns About the Fairness of Standards, and How Conservative Opposition to the Idea Grew

Goals 2000 in the Senate and the Conference Committee
How the Concept of Raising Standards Triumphed, but Only after Liberal Concerns about Equity Lost and Increasingly Strident Conservative Opposition Was Overcome

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act
How Other Federal Programs Were Refashioned to Raise Standards, and How This Victory Further Hardened the Opposition of the Political Far-Right

The Conservative Assault on Raising Standards to Improve the Schools
How the Conservative Opposition Tried to Undo Standards-Based Reform and Failed Because Clinton, the Business Community and Governors Fought Back

The Elections of 1996 and Clinton's Second Term
How the Conservatives Were Rebuffed, and Clinton Revived the Idea of National Standards and Tests


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ISBN: 9780761914754