STANDARDS: THE STATES GO THEIR OWN WAYS

President Clinton thought he had a winner in his back-to-school-season campaign to create national academic standards. But his effort has not fared too well. The voluntary tests he proposed met with strong criticism from conservatives, who argued that they would bring too much federal control over education, and the proposal is now languishing in a congressional committee. In a sense, though, the fate of Clinton's initiative may be largely irrelevant because the question of standards is being vigorously addressed by the states themselves.

Inspired in part by an education summit that took place in May last year, 44 states are revising...

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