Alfie Kohn comments on standards.
New York Times
One Country, One School, One Yardstick?
To the Editor:
While it’s true that eight of the 10 top-scoring countries have centralized education standards, so do nine of the 10 lowest-scoring countries in math and eight of the 10 lowest-scoring countries in science. That’s according to data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study.
And if we’re interested in students’ depth of understanding or their motivation to learn, as opposed to mere test scores, there isn’t a shred of data to support a claim of superiority for countries with nationalized education systems.
It’s with good reason that so many thoughtful classroom teachers and education researchers are strongly opposed to this “core standards” initiative — which, let’s remember, has been driven primarily by corporate officials, politicians and testing companies.
To say that all students should receive a high-quality education is very different from saying all students should get the same kind of education. A one-size-fits-all approach to schooling doesn’t produce excellence, and it certainly doesn’t further the cause of equity.
Belmont, Mass., March 15, 2010
The writer is the author of books and articles about education.