If we ever hope to accurately compare Louisiana's educational results with those of other states, we must have a nationwide agreement about what is being measured.
Under current No Child Left behind guidelines, each state develops its own curriculum. That's fine as long as your biggest concerns are States' Rights and keeping federal regulation to a minimum, but it makes for lousy statistical comparisons.
Right now, Louisiana has some of the most rigorous academic requirements in the nation. We suffer in comparison with states that are not quite so rigorous. That's not just an opinion. In a March EdLog post, we cited a Fordham Institute study that found "some schools deemed to be failing in one state would get passing grades in another under the No Child Left Behind law."
But there's good news. In this Washington Post article by reporter Maria Glod, we learn that Louisiana is one of 46 states working on a set of common voluntary standards for reading and math.
The key word is voluntary - what does that mean, and how much pressure can be brought to urge compliance. Beyond that, the issue will become testing, and the establishment of a common rubric.