Darn, I've missed this thread completely while doing research on the waste and fraud in the office of the Asst Supe of Business Services at our local school district. This is my wife's, and my, favorite school topic. (Well, that is after exposing how the district wastes the all-too-scarce funding we get from the state.) While admitting I haven't read the entire thread, the point I come back to is that it WOULD be useful to have a national standard, but, with about 6-7 different state-imposed tests and standards with which to comply, the teacher's time is wasted, the student DOESN'T get the education they should get, and good teacher's get frustrated and go into private business. In California, the biggest problem we have is that everytime a new legislature convenes, every new pol makes a run at their own idea of how to "fix" education with some cool new program or testing standard . But of course that requires more money which they don't have but they do steal a little here and a little there and to the program anyway. The result is the dollars get spread even thinner, the students continue to go backward, ...and the teachers get the blame. All the while, it is the STATE government, not the Feds that cause the bulk of the problem. And in the classroom, my wife, who HATES "testing," admits to being forced, as the result of the grant requirements, to spending 3-4 weeks/year "teaching tests." Once the test is finished, she goes back to the job of education. In the meantime, money is absolutely wasted at the admin level by people who make no contribution to the classroom at all, but rather are there just to administer all the grants-in-aid that have strings attached. The teacher can have all the lesson plans and portfolios they want but as along as we all stand idly by and don't get after the state pols and district admin, the situation will NOT get better, but worse. EDIT: In the midst of this post, I was interupted by a phone call from the district business officer trying to explain how they justified b replacing about 40 Macs with PCs at the same time they just turned down the new teacher's contract because there was a "me too" clause in it that would have cost the district about $12,000 in additional pay to the 3 other contracts already settled. And we blame teachers for not getting the job done. With people like this running the district, anyone who wastes any time at all blaming Bush, or D of E, is just doing that, wasting time. Bush AIN'T the problem. The problem is right in your home state.