Old R.I. education standards get failing grades in study

Providence, R.I. – Rhode Island's state standards for English and math are not challenging enough, according to a Fordham Institute report out today. But the report grades the state's new national standards more favorably.

Rhode Island's old standards for English and math get a "D" in the study. But the report gives the national "Common Core" standards, which the state adopted this summer, an A- in math and a B+ in English. Mike Petrilli, a vice president at the Fordham Institute, says the move toward national standards should help raise expectations for Rhode Island students.

"Teachers are going to get a lot more guidance about what they're expected to teach and what kids are expected to know in their classrooms," Petrilli says." Right now the current RI standards are pretty vague and the Common Core standards are much more explicit and detailed."

The study's authors say the new standards may also require an investment in teacher training and new text books. They caution that the real question is how standards are used in the classroom.

In the past, national standards have been seen as controversial among those who prefer local control over schools.

The Fordham Institute is a conservative think-tank based out of Washington, D.C.