Making Standards Work. (Editor's Letter)

By D'Orio, Wayne | Curriculum Administrator, August 2001 | Go to article overview

Making Standards Work. (Editor's Letter)


D'Orio, Wayne, Curriculum Administrator


There may not be a more complex, polarizing issue in education today than standards. Indeed in this issue of Curriculum Administrator alone, a variety of people--from Rod Paige to Alfie Kohn to Mickey Revenaugh and other educators--tackle this subject from several different angles.

But no matter where you stand on standards, and Paige and Kohn seem about as far apart as possible, it's obvious that standards are here to stay. Whether you feel they add needed accountability to each school, as Paige does, or that they mindlessly turn students into test-taking machines, as Kohn does, standards are gaining momentum. And the education bills in Washington, still awaiting consolidation and approval as of press time, will ratchet up the standards argument more, calling for testing in reading and math each year from third grade to eighth grade.

There are some aspects of standards I don't like. High-stakes tests, dropping interactive curriculum and imaginative lessons to teach directly to tests, and taking control away from talented teachers are some of the negatives.

But there are some aspects to standards that are worthwhile. Creating a uniform achievement level, when completed intelligently and in concert with a solid curriculum program, is a positive. And so is making schools accountable, although I don't agree with taking public money away from schools that fail to meet certain goals. …

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