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Transcript of Sample Timeline
"We must have teachers of competence. To obtain and hold them we need standards. We need a National Goal. Once established, I am certain that public opinion would compel steady progress toward its accomplishment."
—President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Annual Message to Congress
The Soviet Union launches Sputnik, the first man-made satellite to orbit Earth, setting off a wave of concern among Americans about the nation’s technological dominance and the quality of math and science education.
Lyndon B. Johnson declares a War on Poverty as a part of his Great Society social agenda. The Elementary and Secondary Schools Act is passed as a measure to improve compulsory education in America.
Richard M. Nixon declares the act of creating common standards one of the great bugaboos of our time. "Success should be measured not by some fixed national norm, but rather by the results achieved in relation to the actual situation of the particular school and the particular set of pupils. ... The problem is that in opposing some mythical threat of ‘national standards’ what we have too often been doing is avoiding accountability for our own local performance."
—President Richard M. Nixon, Special Message to Congress on Education Reform
The National Commission on Excellence in Education issues A Nation at Risk, a landmark report that calls for academic expectations across high school subjects—"the new basics"—including four years of English, and three years each of math, science, and social studies. It calls for a "nationwide (but not federal) system of state and local standardized tests," to be administered at "major transition points" in education.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science publishes "Science for All Americans," and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics releases "Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics," voluntary national standards for science and math, respectively. Other subject-area organizations follow with their own sets of voluntary standards.
President George H.W. Bush meets with the nation’s governors at an “education summit” in Charlottesville, Va., at which they agree to set national education goals, and pledge to back a state-by-state campaign to restructure the nation’s schools.
President Bush unveils his proposed "America 2000" legislation, which calls for voluntary national standards and tests. The proposals grow out of the ideas put forward at his education summit. The legislation fails to win congressional support.
President Bill Clinton signs into law the Goals 2000: Educate America Act, which incorporates some ideas from Bush’s legislation, provides grants to help states develop content standards, and establishes a panel to certify model state and national standards. Congress eliminates the panel two years later.
The U.S. Senate approves a nonbinding resolution denouncing the history standards. It states that any federally sponsored standards effort should have a "decent respect for the contributions of Western civilization, and United States history, ideas, and institutions, to the increase of freedom and prosperity around the world."
President George W. Bush signs into law the No Child Left Behind Act. Approved with bipartisan congressional support, it requires that states test students annually in mathematics and reading in grades 3-8 and once during high school, and that states align their tests with their academic standards. 2009
Forty-eight states agree to take part in the Common Core State Standards Initiative, launched by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association. The goal is to establish "fewer, clearer, and higher" academic expectations and tests based on the standards. Supporters emphasize that states, not the federal government, are leading the project.
The Obama administration establishes the Race to the Top program - a competitive program based on performace created to award federal money to schools.
The NGA and CCSSO announce that in addition to the Language Arts and Math standards released in the Common Core Standards, Science and Social Studies standards will be developed as well.