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AAE Signs on in Opposition to National Curriculum
posted by: Alix | May 09, 2011, 02:57 PM   

The following statement can be attributed to the Association of American Educators Executive Director Gary Beckner.

The Association of American Educators has joined a coalition of other influential groups and individuals from across the political and education spectrum in opposition to a nationalized curriculum. In conjunction with opposing a national curriculum, AAE also opposes the ongoing effort by the U.S. Department of Education to have two federally-funded testing consortia develop national curriculum guidelines, national curriculum models, national instructional materials, and national assessments using Common Core's national standards as a basis for these efforts.

While we feel that nationalized curriculum is not in our best interest, AAE believes that expectations should be high and similar for all schoolchildren, regardless of their state of residence. Having said that, AAE does not agree that a one-size-fits-all, centrally-controlled curriculum makes sense for this country or for any other sizable country with regional identities.

Such an approach threatens to close the door on educational innovation, freezing in place an unacceptable status quo and hindering efforts to develop academically rigorous curricula, assessments, and standards that meet the challenges of a new global economy. AAE and this coalition are deeply committed to improving this country's schools and as such, cannot support this effort to undermine local and state control of public school curriculum in favor of an inside-the-Beltway bureaucracy.

Furthermore, transferring this kind of power to the federal government will only further subject our students to political whims. We should not let our children's education be swayed by the inevitable political pressure that undoubtedly all presidential administrations will experience. Centralized control in the U.S. Department of Education would upset the system of checks and balances between different levels of government, creating greater opportunities for special interests to use their national political leverage to distort critical education policy. Our current decentralized fifty-state system provides some limitations on special-interest power, ensuring that wrongheaded reforms don't harm children in every state, and that local systems can teach curriculum meaningful to their region.

AAE's positions on national standards reflect those of our members. Only 31% of our surveyed membership believes that the federal government should mandate curriculum standards, while 64% supported the states making the final determination about the standards. Teachers in the field recognize that students in addition to being held to a high academic standard, ought to be given the opportunity to learn from state-based curriculums designed with the goals of their state in mind.

It is our hope that in signing on in opposition to a nationalized curriculum the voices of our members will be heard. American children deserve a robust curriculum that prepares them for a demanding world that is free from centralized special interests.

Comments (3)Add Comment
Nationalized Curriculum
written by Tammy Jessen/Alabama, September 03, 2011

You are right on! I have lost all the confidence in the world in our government. When law makers first teach for a full month or more in a "typical" public school then and only then will I take stock in what they have to say about education. Nationalizing education says to me that my creativity, individualized instruction centered around the needs of my students will be lost.
written by Margaret, from Oregon, May 10, 2011

Abraham Lincoln said that the federal government was for what people could not do for themselves. The states, and even counties, should have more say in their education goals. Federal guidelines should be just that: only guidelines. Thank you Gary Beckner for your voice.
Thank you!
written by Andrew, May 09, 2011

I can't thank you guys enough for this decision, thank you for your leadership on this issue!

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