California Education Dialogue

A public policy dialogue produced by Information Renaissance
with support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation,
IBM Corporation and Intel Corporation



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"Standards-based reform" has to do with setting benchmarks for academic achievement. The Education Commission of the States suggests (third entry below) that "the standards-based approach constitutes the primary reform strategy of most states and districts" but that its potential for improving student achievement and school quality depends on an accompanying redesign and alignment of the components of the education system such as curriculum, assessment, accountability, teacher education, and resource allocation, to fit the standards. Education Week on the Web notes there is debate "over how to implement such standards - how prescriptive they should be, and whether they should be national or local, voluntary or mandated" (glossary).

The Draft Master Plan proposes that districts should have input standards in the form of guidelines and minimum requirements, as well as outcome standards. The aim is to provide districts with flexibility in devising spending priorities, while protecting students by establishing minimum requirements.

Related Issues

Standards are related to many of the topics in the Master Plan; the links below lead to pages on this site that give more information in selected areas.

If your organization has material that would be useful for the online dialogue but is not included in the preceding list, please e-mail a URL to <>.