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August 15, 2005 Extra Credit
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August 15, 2005

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Education: Expect Excellence

The following editorial on high expectations appeared in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (8-15):

"Oh, the poor students. We will hear such talk a lot as Washington [state]'s high school graduation requirements muscle up.

"Just don't take all the worries at face value. A new national survey of students suggests that young people themselves understand very well that their schools should demand more of them academically.

"Nearly 90 percent of students told Peter D. Hart Research Associates they would work harder if their schools set higher standards. Wow.

"The state faces real issues as it implements requirements that students in the Class of 2008 pass Washington Assessment of Student Learning tests to graduate. A key question remains whether the state and school districts will provide adequate support for students they fail on the first try.

"But, like those in the national survey, students here have high goals, overwhelmingly expecting to pursue four-year college degrees. Molly O'Connor of Partnership for Learning, a group that pushes for school improvements in Washington, said she would be very surprised if students here had any markedly different expectations about high standards than the national sample.

"The study, done for the non-profit Horatio Alger Association, found that just one-third of students believe their school's expectations are high. Expecting little of students is a sure way to cheat them out of educational, job and life opportunities."

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NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

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Last Modified: 08/16/2005