You may have noticed that the catch phrase No Child Left Behind has fallen into disrepute. When Congress remakes the legislation I am sure that will not be the title. The packaging will definitely change, but will the contents be any less onerous? It seems like the new catch phrase is National Standards…innocuous, but deadly (or deadening, as the case may be). I read two good pieces today as part of the research arm of this endeavor. Lynn Stoddard, a retired educator from Utah whom I greatly admire wrote an open letter called Educating for Individuality, that reflects directly on the idea of national standards. You can read it at http://definegreat.ning.com/forum/topics/educating-for-individuality It makes me think how we are operating in a period where fear is being used to dictate much of the actions of our policy makers. Uniformity feels safe. Individuality is somehow threatening. We need to reverse not only the current policies, but the current psychology.
The other piece that impressed me came from The Forum for Education and Democracy’s newsletter: Why Send My Son to Public School? by Forum National Director Sam Chaltain http://www.forumforeducation.org/blog/why-send-my-son-public-school It includes some substantive other directions that do have national significance, but would bring back into focus a broader understanding of how to measure a good education.
Every day I read pieces by thoughtful people who are adding their voices to say “enough lockstep!” One of my jobs is to make sure the people I reach know that they are not alone.