August 26, 2010
by Tammy Drennan, NEO Senior Writer
For those who feel schools should and can be reformed, there is a plethora of evidence to the contrary to overcome, but let's focus right now on just one: Common Standards.
The battle is on in earnest, as happens with all reform initiatives. If the Common Standards reform goes through, it will likely do so as most others do -- watered down in the name of compromise and inclined to fizzle out by the time everyone is ready to launch the next big reform.
An EdWeek.org commentary, Why Common Standards Won't Work, and the comments it garnered, showcase the debate as well as anything I've read thus far. The author makes a few good points, including this one:
"In fact, the bureaucratic approach to schools—establish content, prescribe content, and measure student acquisition of that content—has been visited and revisited decade after decade for more than a century now. It has always failed, and always will."
But some of the commentary's readers disagree. One person writes:
“The false and unsupported platform of this commentary is that teachers actually know what they ought to be teaching, and how it should be taught. Wake up and smell the coffee.... As a fragmented system now, it is impossible to make any case as to which populations and communities deserve more attention than others, especially in a system where additional national funding is nothing less than a competition."
And this battle rages on, as do all of them, until they get boring and new ones emerge.
My point? The Common Standards bandwagon is picture-perfect example of every other bandwagon. The only solution is to walk away from the literally endless arguing and create and innovate. It's being done and it’s working. It needs to be done more.