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Where Did the Curriculum Standards come from?

Federal Regional Education Laboratories

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for Teaching To Standards

1990 - 2015 No Child Left Behind is DEAD

President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the reauthorization of theElementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The signing capped a remarkable week of Congressional activity, with the House (359-64) and Senate (85-12) overwhelmingly approving the bipartisan legislation to replace theNo Child Left Behind Act(NCLB), the previous version of the ESEA that has been up for reauthorization since 2007.

The ESSA includes many of the key reforms the Administration has called on Congress to enact and encouraged states and school districts to adopt in exchange for waivers offering relief from more onerous provisions of NCLB. It helps ensure educational opportunity for all students by:

  • holding all students to high academic standards that prepare them for success in college and careers;
  • ensuring accountability by stipulating that when students fall behind, states redirect resources into what works to help them and their schools improve, with a particular focus on the very lowest-performing schools, high schools with high dropout rates, and schools with achievement gaps;
  • empowering state and local decision-makers to develop their own strong systems for school improvement based upon evidence;
  • reducing the burden of testing on students and teachers, making sure that tests do not crowd out teaching and learning, without sacrificing clear, annual information parents and educators need to know their children are learning;
  • providing more children access to high-quality preschool; and
  • establishing new resources for proven strategies that will spur reform and drive opportunity and better outcomes for American's students.

In further recognition of the ESEA's legacy as a civil rights law -- upholding critical protections for disadvantaged students -- the ESSA holds schools to account for the progress of all students, prescribing meaningful reforms to remedy under-performance in those schools failing to serve all students; maintains dedicated resources and supports for students with disabilities, English Learners, Native American students, homeless children, neglected and delinquent children, and migrant and seasonal farmworker children; and keeps states and districts on task with the work they began this year to ensure all students have equitable access to excellent educators.

There is much to be figured out as the nation moves to implement the new law, but the White House and the Department have released a number of materials to help educate the public about the ESSA, including:

Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Munoz's blog post, “What You Need to Know About the Fix to No Child Left Behind” (with a side-by-side comparison of NCLB, ESEA flexibility, and ESSA);

excerpts from the Secretary's prepared remarks at the Learning Forward conference; and a Dear Colleague letter from both Secretary Duncan and incoming Acting Secretary King on ESSA.

Many of these materials are posted on the Department's ESEA web page, and additional materials will be posted as they become available. In the meantime, questions may be directed



Yale Child Study Center says 6 out of every 1,000 preschoolers are expelled each year. Could the reason be all about making preschool more about academics than about socialization and constructive play? Preschools feel the pressure to bump up the academic portion of their programs to better prepare students for kindergarten. For many, though, the push comes too young and the result is frustration and inappropriate behavior. "Maybe Preschool Is the Problem."


What's wrong with "the core"?
For its content to be processed, stored in memory, retrieved and combined in novel ways to create new knowledge, it would have to be well organized and integrated. It isn't. It's a confusing, random, overwhelming, intellectually unmanageable assortment of facts, specialized vocabularies, disconnected conceptual frameworks, and abstractions - the whole too far removed from life as the young live it for them to care about it.
So, they don't. They're being blasted with information at fire-hose velocity. The diligent and the fearful store as much as they can in short-term memory, and when testing is over, their brains delete what's considered clutter because it's not immediately useful. The non-diligent and the cynical guess and/or cheat the answer sheets. The rest (and their numbers, understandably, are steadily increasing) opt out of the trivia game, or are opted out by thoughtful, caring parents.
EDUCATION STORY Our "natural" knowledge-organizing and integrating system's main components are those we use to create the most complete and sophisticated models of reality known - stories. To make sense of any and all reality, we seek answers to just five questions - Who? What? When? Where? Why? All knowledge is an elaboration of one or more of those five distinct kinds of information. Reasoning their way to those five distinct kinds of information, they "own" the foundation of their knowledge-categorizing and -manipulating system. Skillful use of the system can't be taught in the usual sense of the word - can't, that is, be transferred in useable form from mind to mind by words on a page, images on a screen or lectures from a stage. Learners have to construct understanding for themselves.
When the CEOs and the politicians they've bought finish the simplistic "reform" they've started, when the claim that an order-of-magnitude improvement in learner intellectual performance has been dismissed as hyperbole, when all 50 states have been pressured to adopt the regressive Common Core Standards locking the knowledge-fragmenting 1893 curriculum in permanent place, when standardized subject-matter tests that can't measure the qualities and quality of thought have been nationalized, when the Standards and Testing Police are fully deployed and looking over every teacher's shoulder, it'll all be over. America and the nations that follow its lead in education will face a dynamic world equipped with a static curriculum. Catastrophe will be inevitable.

Intelligence Reframed - Do Standards Make Kids Smarter - NO!!! NO!!! NO!!!

Fuzzy Standards by Ferdi Serim
"What we're really measuring is seat time, not ownership of knowledge".



Bush Profiteers Collect Billions From No Child Left Behind
The architect of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), President Bush's first senior education adviser, Sandy Kress, has turned the program, which has consistently proven disastrous in the realm of education, into a huge success in the realm of corporate profiteering. After ushering NCLB through the U.S. House of Representatives in 2001 with no public hearings, Kress went from lawmaker—turning on spigots of federal funds—to lobbyist, tapping into those billions of dollars in federal funds for private investors well connected to the Bush administration.

A statute that once promised equal access to public education to millions of American children now instead promises billions of dollars in profits to corporate clients through dubious processes of testing and assessment and “supplemental educational services.” What was once a cottage industry has become a corporate giant. “Millions of dollars are being spent, and nobody knows what's happening,” says Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy.

The wedding of big business and education benefits not only the interests of the Business Roundtable, a consortium of more than 300 CEOs, but countless Bush family loyalists. Sandy Kress, chief architect of NCLB; Harold McGraw III, textbook publisher; Bill Bennett, former Reagan education secretary; and Neil Bush, the president's youngest brother, have all cashed in on the Roundtable's successful national implementation of “outcome-based education.” NCLB's mandated system of state standards, state tests and school sanctions has together transformed our public school system into a for-profit frenzy.

While the Business Roundtable maintains that the high-stakes tests administered nationwide hold schools accountable to “Adequate Yearly Progress,” NCLB has instead benefited the testing industry in the amount of between $1.9 and $5.3 billion a year. NCLB requires states to produce “interpretive, descriptive, and diagnostic reports,” all of which are provided at a price by members of the industry.

Other Kress clients, including Ignite! Learning, a company headed by Neil Bush, and K12 Inc., a for- profit enterprise owned by Bill Bennett, tailored themselves to vie for NCLB dollars.

Under NCLB, as school districts receive federal funding they are required by law to hold 20% of those funds aside, anticipating that their schools will fail to meet the Annual Yearly Progress formula. When that “failure” is certified by test scores, the district is required to use those set-aside federal funds to pay supplemental education service (SES) providers.
Ignite! TEXAS SCAM has placed products in 40 U.S. school districts, and K12 offers a menu of services “as an option to traditional brick-and-mortar schools,” including computer-based “virtual academies,” that have qualified for more than $4 million in federal grants. [K12 has taken in $5 million of tax- payer money from its partnership with the Wisconsin Virtual Academy, a charter school in the Northern Ozaukee School District.] Under NCLB, supplemental educational services, whose results are being increasingly challenged, reap $2 billion annually.

2010 There are 4 million children in the Texas public school system, making it the second-largest market for textbooks in the country.

The Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington DC 20036 (202) 797-6000 | Fax (202) 797-6004

AWASH IN A SEA OF STANDARDS By Robert J. Marzano and John S. Kendall / Mid-continent Regional Educational Laboratory, Inc. 1998 Abstract Whole Article


No Child Left Behind Act is wasteful and utopian, & no different from other programs, but it requires States to develop uniform curricula for gifted, bright, bright normal, normal, dull normal, morons, imbeciles, and idiots alike.

Most educators cite the 1983 report A Nation at Risk (National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983) as the starting point for the current emphasis on education standards. Who will soon forget the chilling words often quoted from that report: "The educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation and a people. . . We have, in effect, been committing an act of unthinking, unilateral educational disarmament" (p. 5). The concern about the viability of our education system engendered by A Nation at Risk eventually led to the first education summit in September, 1989, during which President Bush and the nation's governors agreed upon six broad goals under the title The National Education Goals Report: Building a Nation of Learners (National Education Goals Panel [NEGP], 1991). (The initial set of goals was expanded to eight goals in 1994). Implicit and explicit in these goal statements was the mandate for American educators to identify rigorous standards regarding what students should know and be able to do in core academic areas. Subject-matter organizations quickly mobilized to establish content standards in their respective areas. Most groups looked to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) for guidance, given the success of their document, Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics. Many of the subject-matter groups were funded by the U.S. Department of Education. To date, standards documents have been published by virtually every national subject-matter organization. Exhibit 1 lists those documents considered the official standards documents in their subject areas.

teaching to state standards, state educational standards, state teaching standard

H.R. 1804 GOALS 2000: EDUCATE AMERICA ACT is the nonprofit creation of a group of business CEOs and the National Governors' Association that is was co-chaired by IBM's chief executive officer, Louis V. Gerstner Jr., and Gov. Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin. Among other things, Achieve is busily posting state standards in English, math, science, and social studies. Building on pioneering work with the Mid-continent Regional Education Laboratory, or McREL, in Aurora, Colo., the standards of each state are "normalized." In simple English, this means that at this moment, 40 states' standards (and one foreign country's) are rendered in comprehensible and comparable "chunks." For example, you can call up all geometry standards for grades 6-8 for a given state. Each state or country can be compared with another in a very useful, side-by-side screen presentation.

Federal Regional Education Laboratories

Heritage Foundation's "backgrounder" was at:
In what the Heritage Foundation calls "Backgrounder" papers, Nina Shokrail, the author, raises the issue of whether the United States Congress should overhaul the Federal Regional Education Laboratories.
She concludes that "Members of Congress interested in streamlining the federal role in education should examine the research conducted in OERI laboratories and demand more accountability in return for the approximately $50 million the labs receive from the federal government every year."
The funding actually goes to well-paid professionals functioning as middlemen, sitting in comfortable offices distant from the classroom, and devoting much of their energy to ensuring that their federal gravy train does not halt on the tracks.

Some of the things wrong with the lab she says are:

  • the questionable quality and value of the research:
  • " But a 1997 District and State Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Education found that nearly half of the states and districts that had contact with regional labs found them to be of little or no help in understanding or implementing comprehensive standards-based reform. 21"
  • lack of objectivity,
  • the promotion of fads,
  • flaws in research,
  • failed reform by the Office of Assistance and Dissemination (ORAD) in 1994 (designed primarily to guide and monitor the activities of the regional educational laboratories) by the lobbying efforts of the Council on Educational Development and Research (CEDaR) initially established to represent the interests of these labs.
  • A June 1993 analysis of OERI and its labs by Maris Vinovskis, former Research Advisor to the Assistant Secretary at OERI and currently a professor at the Department of History and Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan says,"Labs have different methods of evaluation and place different degrees of importance on research. Yet all use the term "research-based" to describe the programs they promote, even though "[they] don't have the luxury of running controlled experiments," as Wesley Hoover, President and CEO of the Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, admits. 29 At the same time, "Direct Instruction," a program which uses memorization and drill and has been proven to be effective in boosting the academic outcomes of disadvantaged students, 30 is not widely distributed or prominently featured by the labs because it is not interesting to the teachers who have to use it. "[The] program will not work," claims Hoover, because "75 percent of teachers in our Elementary schools come from a whole language background. You need something else that `walks them through Direct Instruction.'"
  • " The Mid-Continent Regional Educational Laboratory (McREL) emphasizes working "collaboratively with its clients to improve educational policy and practice through the application of knowledge from research, development, and experience." 36 It has produced some useful policy papers, but many are little more than a catalog of research, without adequate attention given to the quality of the work or the diversity of material in the field. 37
  • In addition, there are serious flaws in the way the lab tallied the results of a questionnaire it sent to local public school superintendents in the seven states it serves. Although the overall response rate was only 40 percent and varied among the states, the analysts simply grouped all of the returns together to get an overall regional profile. 38

Vinovskis concluded that after spending $811 million of taxpayer money between 1966 and 1991, the labs had little to show for it by way of success.

Warren Buffett's gift of $31 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will double the foundation's assets, bringing it to more than $60 billion, and will increase its annual giving to nearly $3 billion. Never before has an individual given such a large amount of money to someone else's foundation, writes Diane Ravitch. Never before has a private foundation had assets of this dimension. Never before has any individual or foundation had so much power to direct the course of American education, which is one of the primary interests of the Gates Foundation. Educators are waiting with bated breath to see which direction this multibillion-dollar behemoth will take.,0,7582965,print.story?coll=la-opinion-rightrail

"free and competitive markets are superior to state-run school systems in meeting the public's goals." Andrew J. Coulson Market Education: The Unknown History Are Public Schools Hazardous To Public Education? EDUCATION WEEK "COMMENTARY"APRIL 7TH, 1999
Review of Market Education By Myron Lieberman THE WEEKLY STANDARD, MAY 10, 1999 (p. 35) School's Out The Case for Competition By Myron Lieberman

The Philanthropy Roundtable, like many of the right's counter-establishment organizations, was launched in the late 1970s. It was not, however, until 1991 that the informal group of political strategists and philanthropists established a governing board of directors for the organization. Membership is open to all philanthropists and the representatives of philanthropic organizations, although most members hail from the right wing.

Earhart Foundation
In a 2004 article for Philanthropy, a journal published by the conservative Philanthropy Roundtable, Martin Davis highlights the foundation's support for economists: “For economists, one pinnacle stands above all others—the Nobel Prize. And no philanthropic group has done more to assist top thinkers in their climb toward this prize than the Earhart Foundation of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Though relatively small, the foundation has enjoyed incredible success identifying and supporting those who will go on to Stockholm. The prize in economics was established in 1969 and has been awarded 35 times as of 2004]. Nine of those winners had received Earhart support.”1

2010 As NCLB reaches 8-year mark, many wonder what's next