chapter  20
Challenges for Leaders in the Not-So-New Era of Standards
ByMargaret J. McLaughlin, Amy F. Smith, Tracy G. Wilkinson
Pages 16

It is a well-established fact that over the past 40 years, individuals with higher levels of education have become the winners in the U.S. economy as measured by non-stagnant wages and greater job security (Elman & O’Rand, 2004). As the nation’s economy became increasingly linked to the U.S. educational system, a spate of reforms, aff ecting all aspects of pre-k-20 education, have been initiated. The overriding goal of these reforms has focused on leveling the economic playing fi elds among our nation’s children by attempting to reduce the contribution of a child’s socio-economic and family background to his or her ultimate economic attainment. These reforms also shifted our view of what is fair and just from one that would distribute resources, such as funds, equally among children to one that endeavors to equitably distribute educational attainment and thus economic opportunity.