Table of Contents
The AFT has been calling for standards with clear, specific content for more than a decade. But by and large, state standards are still vague and repetitive. For this issue, we called on education and subject-matter experts, as well as new and veteran teachers, to explain why strong standards are necessary for a well-aligned education system-one in which teachers, curriculum writers, textbook and assessment developers, and professional development providers have a shared understanding of what students must learn in each grade. In addition to pointing out the major weaknesses of most state standards and their deleterious effects, this issue also presents examples of clear, specific standards—some from states, others from the International Baccalaureate and Core Knowledge.
There's a Hole in State Standards (PDF)
And New Teachers Like Me Are Falling Through
By a Second-Year Teacher
Plugging the Hole in State Standards (PDF)
One Man's Modest Proposal for Infusing More Content into the Literacy Block and Making Reading Tests More Equitable
By E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
Clear, Specific Content Holds Teaching, Texts, and Tests Together
By Heidi Glidden
What's Missing from Math Standards?
Focus, Rigor, and Coherence
By William H. Schmidt
No Contest (PDF)
Up Close, Typical State Biology Standards Don't Have the Content or Coherence of the International Baccalaureate
By Paul R. Gross
Informative, Not Scripted (PDF)
Core Knowledge Shows How Clear, Specific Content Supports Good Instruction
Standards for the Arts
They Need Clear, Specific Content Too
Before Their Time
Child Labor Around the World
By David L. Parker
An occupational physician and photographer documents the ongoing, worldwide failure to meet children's basic needs. The result: globally, 320 million children under age 16 work—many, like those shown here, in deplorable conditions.
About American Educator
American Educator is a quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. Recent articles have focused on such topics as reducing the achievement gap between poor and affluent students, heading off student discipline problems, teaching an appreciation and understanding of democracy, the benefits of a common coherent curriculum, and other issues affecting children and education here and abroad. Total circulation, as of our most recent issue, is over 900,000.