Should All U.S. Students Meet a Single Set of National Proficiency Standards?

The Wall Street Journal:

The U.S. has a problem: Today’s young Americans are falling behind their peers in other countries when it comes to academic performance. What makes the situation particularly concerning is research showing a close link between economic competitiveness and the knowledge and skills of a nation’s workforce.
What’s the solution?
One school of thought says the U.S. needs to set clear standards about what schools should teach and students should learn–and make it uniform throughout the country. These advocates say our decentralized approach to education isn’t preparing students for the demanding challenges they will face in a global economy.
The Wall Street Journal
Others say be careful what you wish for. Proposing that all children meet the same academic standards, they say, is essentially proposing a nationalized system of education, where everyone is taught the same thing at the same time and in the same way. The best way to improve student performance, they argue, is to give schools the ability to experiment with different standards, assessments and curricula to see what does and doesn’t work.