National Curriculum Standards or Local Control: The Arguments and the Evidence

Capitol Hill Briefing
April 16, 2010 1:00PM
B-340 Rayburn House Office Building
Featuring Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), Chairman, Congressional Western Caucus, and former high school teacher; and Neal McCluskey, Associate Director, Center for Educational Freedom, Cato Institute, and author, Feds in the Classroom: How Big Government Corrupts, Cripples, and Compromises American Education.
The No Child Left Behind Act has created perverse incentives for states, encouraging them to adopt low educational standards lest they jeopardize federal funds and risk other punishments. To put an end to states’ dumbing down their standards, many people — including President Obama — are calling for national curriculum standards, a uniform measure that would make it difficult for states to hide their failures. While national standards may seem innocuous, many important questions go unanswered — indeed, even unasked. Why would they withstand special-interest pressure any better than state standards? What does the research reveal about the effectiveness of national standards where they exist? Would it be constitutional for the federal government to impose a single curriculum nationwide? And are there better ways to improve school quality? Please join Congressman Rob Bishop and Cato’s Neal McCluskey to discuss national curriculum standards, educational quality, and federalism.