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NCJ Number: 230000 Find in a Library
Title: Behind the Curtain: Assessing the Case for National Curriculum Standards
Author(s): Neal McCluskey
Corporate Author: Cato Institute
United States of America
Date Published: February 2010
Page Count: 28
Sponsoring Agency: Cato Institute
Washington, DC 20001-5403
Sale Source: Cato Institute
1000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001-5403
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After reviewing arguments for and against national curriculum standards for primary and secondary education in the United States, this paper reviews comparative research on the effectiveness of such standards and then argues for universal school choice.
Abstract: The argument for national curriculum standards instead of the current system under which each State sets its own curriculum standards is that high standards set at the national level will require all students to perform at higher levels. A review of existing comparative research on standards set both at national and subnational levels, however, is weak. First, there has not been much comparative research done; and second, what little research has been done has typically focused on standards combined with high stakes for students rather than the effect of national standards per se. Third, the research has not controlled adequately for unobserved variables, especially cultural features or changes in attitudes. This paper argues that successful education reform should focus on universal school choice whereby education funding is given to parents and schools are autonomous within a free market. Parents will then choose a school for their children based on parental judgments on school curriculum and performance. This would force schools to respond to the needs and demands of parents and children. Critics of such a system argue that it would result in an absence of standards and schools catering to the biases and subjective preferences of parents. This paper argues that such a system would allow ideas to compete in the marketplace, and those that are wrong would not have been imposed on everyone. 92 notes
Main Term(s): Juvenile educational services
Index Term(s): Curriculum; Education; Educational incentive systems; Educational reform; Educational requirements; Standards
Note: Policy Analysis No. 661, February 17, 2010
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