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FROM THIS EPISODE

Countries around the world are surpassing the US when it comes to education, and America could fall behind in the global economy. With schools beset by budget cuts and teacher layoffs, is this the moment to adopt national standards for English and Math? We look at proposals agreed to by the leaders of 48 states. Also, are the Democrats any closer to solving the healthcare crisis? On Reporter's Notebook, founders of the Coffee Party movement want to sit down and talk—not about getting rid of government but about making it work. The parties begin tomorrow.

Banner image: Students prepare to leave on school buses from Westport High School on March 11, 2010 in Kansas City, Missouri. The high school is among 29 in a district of 61 schools that will close due to the new budget plan that is making the cuts to ward off bankruptcy. Photo: G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images

Producers:
Frances Anderton
Gary Scott
Katie Cooper

Main Topic Can Schools Aim High When Budgets Are Low? 36 MIN, 3 SEC

Educators and Governors in all states — except Alaska and Texas — have agreed on uniform, national standards for teaching English and Math in grades K through 12. The goal is to raise expectations for what kids should learn. The hope is to keep America competitive in the global economy. The Obama Administration has signed on, and promoters boast that the states are leading the federal government in education reform. But a project of years is being unveiled at a time of financial crisis for schools all over the country. Do they have the time or resources to make reforms now? What's the evidence that setting standards enhances performance?  Is there a downside? Does one size really fit all?

Guests:
Chris Minnich, Director of Standards, Assessment and Accountability, Council of Chief State School Officers
Neal McCluskey, Director, CATO Institute's Center for Educational Freedom (@NealMcCluskey)
Jack O'Connell, Superintendent of Public Instruction, State of California
John Covington, Superintendent, Kansas City-Missouri Schools
Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times (@howardblume )

Making News Are Democrats Closer to Solving the Healthcare Puzzle? 7 MIN, 47 SEC

President Obama has delayed an overseas trip to help Congressional leaders pass healthcare reform. After a meeting today with the Democratic caucus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was "exhilarated" about its chances. Karen Tumulty is National Political Correspondent for Time magazine.

Guests:
Karen Tumulty, Washington Post (@ktumulty)

Reporter's Notebook Coffee Party, Antidote to the Tea Party, Launches Saturday 7 MIN, 8 SEC

If you're angry and want the government to go away, you may be a Tea Party Patriot. If you're angry but still think government does have a role to play, the National Coffee Party movement may be for you. Supporters say that CoffeePartyUSA.com had 170,000 visitors during its first week and claim 110,000 fans on Facebook, more than the Tea Party. Tomorrow, it's going from the virtual world to the real one, launching coffee parties around the country, says documentary filmmaker and movement founder, Annabel Park.

Guests:
Annabel Park, Founder, Coffee Party movement

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