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In America, education standards vary from state to state, which means that a student or school failing in one state might get passing grades in another. To level the playing field, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan wants to develop national reading and math standards and he's willing to spend up to $350 million in federal funds for schools that support the effort, the Associated Press reports.
Duncan's offer is critical because the federal government cannot mandate national standards, but he hopes the federal cash incentives will encourage states to work to develop a set of common standards. The money will come from the federal Education Department's $5 billion fund to reward states that adopt innovations the Obama administration supports, and it would also be the most Washington has ever invested in an effort to create a set of common standards.
Every state except Alaska, South Carolina, Missouri and Texas has signed the concept of common standards, but Duncan says the 46 states will need "political courage" to adopt a national benchmark. In the announcement made Sunday at a conference for education experts and 20 governors, Duncan said the money would help those states develop tests to assess those standards.
"Historically, this was a third rail. You couldn't even talk about (standards)," Duncan told the AP. "What you've seen over the past couple years is a growing recognition from political leaders, educators, unions, nonprofits — literally every sector — coming to realize that 50 states doing their own thing doesn't make sense."
For the complete story, visit the Associated Press.
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