To this day, there is no national standard of public education, state by state, but a panel of educators convened by the nation’s governors and state school superintendents is aiming to change that. Yesterday, they released a set of proposed academic standards to establish basic education guidelines that could apply to nearly every student in the US—a baseline of what students need to know about English and math at every grade level. It may seem like a no-brainer, but supporters of the effort are already facing skepticism and California, with its greatly complex system of standards and adoption procedures, seems to be an especially vexing case. Why all the red tape? And what would standardizing education really look like?