It will be hotly controversial -- and potentially embarrassing in many states once in place -- but I think I like this recommendation forming for a single national standard on what children should be learning in math and English.
The new proposals could transform American education, replacing the patchwork of standards ranging from mediocre to world-class that have been written by local educators in every state.
Under the proposed standards for English, for example, fifth graders would be expected to explain the differences between drama and prose, and to identify elements of drama like characters, dialogue and stage directions. Seventh graders would study, among other math concepts, proportional relationships, operations with rational numbers and solutions for linear equations.
The new standards are likely to touch off a vast effort to rewrite textbooks, train teachers and produce appropriate tests, if a critical mass of states adopts them in coming months, as seems likely. But there could be opposition in some states, like Massachusetts, which already has high standards that advocates may want to keep.
Note: Texas and Alaska say thanks but no thanks. They'll teach what they want to teach, however warped.
Note, too, that former Arkansas education chief Gene Wilhoit is a key participant in this effort.