Michael Winerip, writing in the New York Times, analyzes what went comically wrong in the education system of New York state. He says:
State officials have instead chosen to use one English test to assess every high school student in the state, which has caused another fairly gigantic problem: How do you create a single graduation exam for 200,000 seniors when some are heading to the Ivy League and others to pump gas?
If the standard is set too high, so many will fail — including children with special education needs and students for whom English is a second language — that there will be a public outcry.
But if the standard is set too low, the result is a diploma that has little meaning.
So far, officials have opted to dumb down the state tests.
The conclusion is obvious. If New York state suffered by going to a one-size-fits-all set of standards, what kind of growing pains will result from putting the entire nation — from rural villages to wealthy suburbs to inner cities — on one set of standards?
Of course, the solution is so obvious that one does not need an advanced degree in education to figure it out. Let school districts be vigorously accountable to locally elected school boards and parents. And let families and local democracies seek the solutions for the educational needs of their children and local communities.