Friday, July 30, 2010

Changing the standards will not improve student achievement

Today is Dr. Stephen Krashen day. Folks, the problem is that focused, prescribed standards lead to standardization, and particularly in environments where they work as handmaidens to administrative agendas and control.

Think about it this way. If I, the government, control not only your definition of a quality education (state or national curriculum) AND also hold the keys to it (tests), I can get you (teachers, schools, the consumer, or the public) to do to all kinds of things that you probably wouldn't ordinarily do. However, if I control the frame, you'll go along with it even against the overwhelming evidence that raising standards in themselves do not equate to college readiness. While not everyone is destined to be a college graduate, none should be deprived of the option via curricular-, policy-, or test-driven fiat.

And that's the real gold standard after all, isn't it? And if it isn't, shouldn't it be?


Changing the standards will not improve student achievement

**Sent to the Mercury News, July 26, 2010**

**California's "stellar standards have failed to produce stellar
students" because higher standards never result in higher achievement
("California could adopt national English, math standards," 7/25).
California will always "languish near the bottom" on reading tests as
long as it refuses to invest in libraries.**

Dedicated readers have no trouble meeting the reading standards. Those
who are not have no chance. These "skills" are not taught but are
gradually absorbed through wide reading. For many children the only
place to get books is the library.

Studies consistently show that school library quality and the presence
of a credentialed librarian relate to reading achievement. California
has the worst supported libraries in the US.

Susan Ohanian points out that providing rigorous standards to students
without the means to meet them is like giving menus to starving
people. Debating the content of the standards is simply discussing
what will be on the menu.

Stephen Krashen

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