Politics & Government

Palin opts out of national education standards effort

Gov. Sarah Palin's decision to opt out of an effort to write nationwide education standards in reading and math has some Alaska educators cheering and others dismayed.

Palin on Sunday rejected what nearly all other states have accepted and said Alaska has chosen to "monitor but not yet actively participate" in the process of standardizing K-12 education.

Forty-six states have signed on to the initiative to devise standards for reading and math testing that would let the performance of students in one state be compared with those in another.

The effort is in its development stages, with state and federal education officials, and others, trying to agree on what the core standards should be. Agreeing to adopt the standards is a step for later. Besides Alaska, the other states that have turned away from the effort are Missouri, South Carolina and Texas.

Anchorage School District Superintendent Carol Comeau, who is in charge of nearly half of Alaska's 120,000 public school students, said she was disappointed with the governor's decision. As a parent and educator, she said, she wants to know how Alaska's kids compare.

But other educators said Palin is right to be wary of outside standards being imported to Alaska.

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