By: Bill Bosher
A September 20, 1989 Chicago Tribune article noted, "President Bush's education summit with the nation's governors may mark a significant step in the struggle to overhaul and improve America's schools".
The author, David Broder, also reported that two things could be expected from this landmark meeting: First, "a statement committing the nation, and each of the 50 states, to reach by the end of the century a challenging set of measurable performance standards for schools and students." The second was "to seek through legislative and regulatory changes much greater flexibility for individual schools and school districts to use the federal aid to education funds they receive."
Not only did the century come and go but twenty-five years of debate…and reform as well. Virginia was an early "standard-bearer", not to use a poor pun" but weathered the not so subtle resistance of those who cried "I strongly support standards"…but who fought anything that looked like a test.
Governor Wilder was the first to stop the "common core" movement in Virginia and Governor Allen championed filling the void with standards, tests, report cards, and consequences.
Governors Gilmore, Warner, Kaine, and McDonnell followed with efforts to institutionalize the system. Three Democrats and three Republicans! Now the cries of political aspiration continue to resonate with "too much testing!"
The reality is that the debate has never been about standards or testing…it has always been about resisting the pain that comes with being held accountable!