KIPP Founder Supports National Standards and Assessments

by Robert Pondiscio
November 9th, 2008

Add KIPP founder Mike Feinberg to the chorus of voices calling for national standards and assessments.  In an op-ed in the Houston Chronicle, Feinberg calls on President-elect Obama to choose an education secretary who is “committed to accountability and public school choice.”

President-elect Obama should pick a secretary of education who deeply understands the issues of funding and accountability on the federal, state and local levels, and who is passionate about student achievement and growth. Having one national test with one rigorous set of national standards will ensure our children can compete in the global marketplace as well as help parents know how well their children are progressing in school.

I’m increasingly convinced Diane Ravitch has the exact right approach to this with her recent call for national testing based on coherent curriculum standards, but without stakes or sanctions.  “The federal role should be to provide accurate information about student performance,” she wrote recently. “It should be left to states and districts to devise sanctions and reforms.  If states and localities don’t want to improve their schools, then we are in deeper trouble as a nation than any law passed by Congress can fix.”

In his op-ed, Feinberg also calls for streamlined pathways to the teaching profession, the growth of public charter schools, and a focus on pre-K and early childhood education.