New National Standards
Cookie-Cutter Approaches To Curriculum And Pedagogy
Do Not Work!
By Dr. John Trotter
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.