Originally Posted By: puffin
Common standards are good I feel.
Agreed. Stating a common expectation or floor for academics is beneficial. However flexibility is needed.
1) Those students who are not at the prescribed level, who have problems with learning and/or achievement at that level, are officially behind; Districts cannot easily create other criteria and then announce that when these students are meeting modified criteria they have met the standard. They have met modified criteria. Yet this may represent a huge success for these students.
2) Parents on gifted forums have sometimes expressed disappointment with the model of mastery utilized by some afterschooling companies, when that model of mastery required the student to achieve 100% accuracy on a large body of work, with no errors. Mastery of common standards may easily take this form when success is measured by a standardized test result, facilitated by teaching to the test, and only a "floor" level standard or expectation is known.
3) Some have said that having a Common Standard provides portability, for example the ability for military families who are frequently reassigned to know with confidence and certainty which grade level their child/ren will fit academically. Yet this is only true if all districts are teaching only at the level of the "floor" of the standard, and none are teaching higher. This is also only true if all pupils in military families are learning exactly at the yoked pace of the standard, none higher or lower.

Originally Posted By: puffin
... The problem is that when they are measured by testing and the results are reported etc kids get taught only what is in the test. That has obvious problems.
Agreed. Again there are two sides to the coin: To individuals who want to have free minds and learn in depth and breadth according to their own interests and abilities, teaching to the test may be limiting. However, to the opposition, those who would have all humans achieving the same educational outcomes at the same pace, stamping out interchangeable cookie-cutter humans with a one-size-fits-all education may be ideal. Parents may unite against this but source documents containing facts about standards assessments and student data collection have been difficult to find, have been copyrighted, and links have been broken/moved. Among several companies whose websites link to each other, as factual data disappears from the website of one inter-related company to appear in different format on a website of another, without benefit of re-directing link (readers experience a broken link)... the sense of a shell-game comes to mind. At best, the process lacks transparency.

Unfortunately this does create a scenario for losing ground for gifted advocacy, and jeopardizes the academic freedoms of all pupils and life-long learners. This does not mean parents ought to give up, however parents may first need to address issues of transparency to provide groundwork for effective advocacy.