08 June 2009

YAY for National Standards!

"In today's mobile society, a kid that gets moved around ought to be able to expect consistency between the old school and new school in terms of course content and minimum standards. That doesn't happen today. Some kids are way behind when they transfer while others are bored silly because they're so far ahead of their new school." (From this article on national standards.)


Better not move the kid, then.

I have been moved about 11 times during my schooling, usually from one state to another and sometimes internationally, and I still read and write in English. (Moving to Australia instead of Spain kinda helped in this regard.)

My math is crummy, and I'll sure grant that jumps from one curriculum to another can leave gaps you can lose your van in, but how much do you think I'd know about Australia Day if I'd never... you know, been to Australia?

Think of it this way. Don't you think that the states on the East Coast should rightly have a longer unit focus on Irish immigration than, say, California? Don't you think the impact of Chinese immigration and the railroads would be discussed in more depth there?

American botany and animal life are totally different in the various areas of the country. Don't you think science classes on ecosystems could be a bit different in the Rocky Mountains than they would be on the Maine coast?

You'd hope so, anyway. So what if all third-graders don't learn about fraction addition in March?

And hellloooo, regardless of this wonderful proposed national curriculum, sometimes the students themselves are plain bum lazy. Or the schools want to make the parents de facto homeschool teachers. This way they get all the glory when the school does well on the test, but when it does poorly, well, you know how "those" parents are that won't do "their fair share" of the work. I'd sooner homeschool for five hours straight with no potty break than deal with a tired, crabby, gym-floor smelling kid and a stack of math flash cards any day. Thanks.

Anyway...

Yeah, I'm opposed to national standards mainly because I distrust the government and the whole issue of who controls what children learn. Once you get all the children learning from the same textbook, history is much more malleable. This is true no matter which political party is in control of our nation.

But as a practical matter, don't you think that there will be more loggers who receive their public schooling in Oregon than in New Mexico? Maybe we ought to let the people in Oregon and New Mexico use their brains and figure out what sort of education their local economy demands. It's just more useful that way, don't you think?

Juggling the entire national curriculum so that we can HAVE a standard we have to meet is just so backward. What do you want to teach? Then teach it. What a novel idea!

5 comments:

  1. Again: National Standards are a nice sounding idea (who doesn't want children to have the most basic foundation of information required to function?)... but the practical outplay is completely impractical and not very well thought-through.

    ~Luke

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  2. LOL - fill in the blank and that statement applies to just about anything, public or private!

    (Blank) -- a nice-sounding idea but impractical and not very-well thought through!

    Wanna play? ;-)

    I started alphabetically with "abstinence" when the Cs exploded and I couldn't get past them --

    curriculum (credit cards!) (canning!) (Congress!) (cars!) (choice!) (commandments!) (compulsion!) (charity!) (chemicals!)

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  3. I don't have a problem with a teacher setting a "standard," say, of her students reading well by the end of third grade. I guess my problem with standards, tests, and the like starts to happen when capital letters like TAKS, SAT and WXYZ and stuff get thrown around as though they were G-O-D.

    I think if we employed a national curriculum, that we would lose out on the Edisons and Franklins who probably wouldn't know Bloom's Taxonomy if it bit 'em in the butt, but were still pretty intelligent people. :]

    PS, JJ, You're not supposed to THINK about abstinence, you're supposed to "just say no." LOL

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  4. Funny considering I now live in a largely socialist country, but isn't kind of scary how the US seems to be on the slippery slope of socialism. It makes my stomach churn. You are so right about why national standards don't work--I loved your post. I didn't know you had lived in Oz--did you ever get to NZL?

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  5. Yes! But only for a few hours in an airport stopover when I was nine. Wellington is the best airport in the world in my experience, and the cleanest. Of course, I didn't have to do business or worry about how to connect flights, though. ;]

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)