New National Standards Not Needed
Cookie-Cutter Approaches To Curriculum And Pedagogy Do Not Work!
New standards. New
curricula. New materials for the new curricula. New textbooks. New
programs. New experts. New consultants. More money. It's
all about the money. Don't kid yourselves. Ostensibly, it is about the children, but
it is about the money. Money now drives the public schooling process. Just like the
Military Industrial Complex which President Eisenhower warned us about, this Educational Curricula Complex is also very dangerous.
Wouldn't it be nice if our students learned the rules of grammar and could write a creative and cogent paragraph?
Wouldn't it be nice if our students could elucidate on the three branches of our republic and intelligently discuss
our national bi-cameral legislature? Wouldn't it be nice if our children could compute numbers on the basic
level (e.g., percentages, perhaps simple long division, etc.)? Wouldn't it be nice if our children could
actually quote the Preambles to our Constitution and Declaration of Independence as well as Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and
King's "I Have a Dream" speech? Wouldn't it be nice if our children could actually recall in
which century that the Civil War took place or the Civil Rights movement took place? What about the essential
causes of World Wars I and II?
So many of our children don't even know these basics...stuff that was so elementary for those
of us who went to school in the 1950s and 1960s before all of the "feel good" curriculum of the 1970s came down
the pike (stuff like "Values Clarification"). All of the tinkering with the curriculum (minus
the obvious changes like in technology) have actually watered-down the curriculum to meet some common denominator.
The cookie-cutter approaches to both curriculum and pedagogy have contributed to the demise in public schooling.
Creating and promulgating new standards will not make a whit of difference. They will not improve
anything, but perhaps billions of dollars will be spent on such curricula ballyhoo. Giving the teachers
power in the classroom (1) to enforce her or his standards (without any pressure from the administration to change grades
and lower the failure rate) and (2) to establish discipline in her or his classroom (without the rug being pulled out from
under her or him by the spineless and weasel administrators) will do wonders in improving student achievement.
But, these educational bozos (who always clamor for "new" and "higher" standards) have not yet
figured this out. They just can't hit a curve ball. They need to be sent back down to
the "bush league" where they belong. © MACE, September 23, 2009.