I remember the way a classroom felt to me before No Child Left Behind (NCLB), when teaching was about encouraging students to learn rather than requiring them to practice rote memorization.
So we either have no standards and get to teach whatever we want, or we have rote memorization of bureaucrat-approved material?
The man's a genius.
Strike that. He's an idiot.
I'll agree with you that people have created false dichotomies between standards and excellent instruction that attends to students' individual needs. Not only CAN we have both, we NEED to have both. Strong curriculum too, by the way.
That doesn't change the fact, however, that, in practice, shabby assessments have become de-facto standards. Unfortunately, those assessments do inspire lousy teaching, rote memorization or worse. So it is possible to support the notion of academic standards, aligned curriculum and aligned assessments while deploring what has happened wherever we have tried to implement those ideas on the cheap.
Everyone - parents, kids, administration etc - needs to stop pretending that actual learning requires sustained effort (and regular attendance). It is not, cannot and should not be easy and fun on a constant basis. Teachers are not and should not be entertainers and students should not expect to be entertained on a constant basis.
Maybe if all concerned accepted that, we could all go on to debunk the fantasy that the needs of all kids can be met in the same classroom at the same time. Mixing IQs from 150 to room temp and academic achievement spanning 10 grades is a recipe for mediocrity at best and chaos often.
Sorry - I meant to say that everyone needs to stop pretending that actual learning DOESN'T require... I should proofread better.
I knew what you meant :)
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