Political Realities

To get national standards, leaders will need to be bold

Wonks love national standards. Politicians don’t.

Wonks love national standards for solving wonky problems, like the downward pressure on standards and the incomparability of states’ test results under No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Wonks love the frisson of danger from embracing an idea that their ideological allies don’t like, whether they are conservatives committed to states’ rights or liberals troubled by inflexible standards. Finally, wonks love the fact that every past effort to establish national standards has crashed and burned. The implausibility is testimony to their (well, our) purity of heart.

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