Two trends are sweeping through U.S. public schools – standards-based reform and the push for accountability. The premise is that academic achievement can be improved by establishing rigorous statewide education standards and then by developing parallel curriculums and tests. Moreover, the Clinton administration wants voluntary national standards and tests established, so that parents, educators and policy-makers can know whether their states are doing a good job. When Congress moves to reauthorize education and testing measures this year, it will examine how reform and accountability can coexist with yet another trend in education – giving local schools more flexibility.
Teacher Carmen Billings helps fourth-graders critique their stories during language arts at Stanton elementary school in Stanton, Ky.
(Photo Credit: Scott J. Ferrell, Congressional Quarterly)