McClure, p. (2005). Where standards come from. Theory into Practice, 4(1),4-10. doi: 10.1207/s15430421tip4401_2
In this article Phyllis McClure gives a brief and very clear historical overview of how the standards movement originally arose. In the simplest terms, in the past folks thought that children from privileged backgrounds would rise to the top to occupy positions of power and leadership while those less fortunate would get an adequate education for their lower stations in life. As time went by this policy was deemed unjust, which led to the idea of common curriculum standards for all students.
The article goes on to mention key court decisions that pushed standards forward as well as the financing structure of schools that needed to be overhauled. It also touches on the fact that expecting all students to meet the same high standards has caused a lingering "achievement gap." The article ends with information about the emergence of Title 1 and the No Child Left Behind Act and states that the standards movement shows no sign of being a "fad" or going away anytime soon.
I recommend this article to anyone who has little or no idea of how the standards movement came about in our country. In particular, this article would be helpful to people who are just starting out in the field of education or who might have been in another profession while all of these significant shifts were occurring. In my case, I was living outside the US from 1991 to 2009, so I found the overview McClure provides in this article to be very helpful.