Beyond Standards


My father used to ask a student to draw a line a meter long on the blackboard, take a look and tell the student the length was not right. “Practice,” he would say, “until you get it right.”

That truncated part of my father’s lesson seems to be the model for contemporary American educational policy. Set a goal and tell someone to reach it. The problem is that education “leaders” in the United States too often tend to forget that we need to be more concerned about how to reach it than with the goal itself. Worse: Some of the goals they set are so vague as to be meaningless—a meter, at least, can be known. “College and career readiness,” on the other hand… well, what does that mean?

According to The New York Times, business leaders say “students need to be able to collaborate and communicate effectively, skills…

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