Are state standards a further tightening of top-down bureaucratic control which will stifle teachers' professional creativity and responsibility, or are they part of an alternative system of accountability which will enable schools and teachers to have more creativity and autonomy in deciding on educational practices?
Does it make a difference which policy body sets the standards, how they are determined, and how sanctions and incentives are implemented?
What is the experience of those states which are applying a "standards-based" approach to school reform? What are the potential and real consequences for cross-discipline curricular coherence of developing and implementing discipline-based national curricular standards?
What kinds of information are needed to formulate appropriate policy options?
How do students at various ages make the transition from their home and community language or dialect to bilingual or bi-dialectal interpretive and productive competence in speech and/or use of written text?
In what ways are these curricula genuinely incompatible and to what extent have they been effectively combined?
What are the curricular and instructional consequences of literacy education programs which emphasize contextual-functional methods vs. What are the values, priorities, and political agendas of various professional and non-professional groups which have argued and lobbied for one or the other of these two approaches?
Comparative case studies of the Massachusetts and California controversies with the New York experience.
What is the role of diverse and possibly conflicting community values regarding educational and language-and-culture goals in making policy which will be acceptable to local communities and beneficial to students? What are their own values and priorities for the education of their children?
Are higher standards a boon or bane for those now failing in school?
Which features of the second dialect are most easily and quickly acquired? Which features of the first dialect are most/least susceptible to interference from the second, and vice versa?
Which specific cognitive requirements of basic and higher literacy skills depend most sensitively on features by which specific dialects differ, and which are relatively insensitive to common dialect differences?