The problem is if you raise the standard of assessment without raising the standards of training, resources and environment, then tell people that their jobs and livlihood depend on high marks you won't get better teaching, you'll get better cheating.
If you want higher standards, you have to FIRST give enough money to provide student with premium conditions...smaller groups, technology, learning tools, creative enthusiastic teachers who aren't worried so about paying the bills that they can't focus on their jobs.
Not to mention the fact that some students are already behind, some of them YEARS behind, and it will require time, money and patience to get them up to speed.
I think having high standards is great, but they just aren't being realistic about how much money it requires to make that happen.
Reminds me of when a school I worked for decided to open a new campus only because they didn't have enough money, they couldn't pay for enough classrooms for all the kids so the groups were 50% bigger a second PC lab, a printer or copier for the second teacher's room, or an AV staff for the teachers to use multimedia resources and their text books were all hand me downs from the first campus, and the board of directors came to me as the middle year coordinator and said "why are these kids not doing as well? Why aren't they doing as well as the other campus? Why are they not as good?"
They tried to blame the teachers, so they fired the teachers at the new campus and transferred teacher from the old campus to the new campus...still no luck. They tried to blame the students (they were more isolated, less sophisticated, came from newer money and were less cultured and less well-bred). They tried to blame everything but themselves. When I told them they needed to give teachers the right tools to do their jobs and make sure they are paid well enough to be able to focus their energy on teaching rather than survival, they laughed. The president of the school board said to me, "A good teacher can do the same quality job with or without those luxuries."
And that, IME, pretty much sums up the mentality of non-educators who have their sticky fingers in the world of education.
They can't. A good teacher can do a good job without those things, but they can NOT do an equally job as they would WITH those things. So I have no problem with raising standards, but I have BIG problem with holding teachers with different tools and jobs of differing difficulty to the same standards. Teaching a middle class kid who probably learned to read before they started school in a school district where they have laptops to give every kid and electronic white boards, and video projectors in every class is just NOT the same as teaching kids, whose parents may not even speak the target language let alone read it, in over crowded classrooms, without even a photocopier as technical support. It's like giving different countries in the olympics different sized poles in the Pole-vault and calling it fair when the bar is set at the same height for all of them.
If the law said "we're going to go in and make all the schools equal in terms of resources and size and ammenities," I'd say, raise the bar to the sky, but you can't raise the bar until every one has the same sized pole with which to vault their students over it, ya know?