One of the problems reformers have with the U.S. education system is that states come up with their own standards, therefore making it impossible to compare students across state lines (and giving states incentives to lower standards so they can create the illusion of a statistical boost and get more federal money). That may soon change however: On Wednesday, a panel of educators proposed national academic standards to be applied to K-12 students across the country. 48 states participated in producing the new standards and if they adopt them over the next few months, the checkerboard system of local standards could largely be replaced, and new standardized tests and textbooks. Only Alaska and Texas did not participate. “Governor Rick Perry argued that only Texans should decide what children there learn,” says The New York Times—presumably, Perry was talking about Newt Gingrich.