Take a position--Does standards-based education improve learning?
Provide evidence that refutes your position.
Provide evidence that supports your position.
If standards-based education is to have the greatest impact, what is the best process for developing an effective curriculum?
Be sure to justify your position with research. Please cite the resources you used for your research using APA guidelines.
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In an era where the United States leads in higher education, it is disappointing that the years up to that institutional point are tarnished with a lot of controversy. Young students really don't know any better and their parents and the generations before them might have had a different educational experience. The challenge is that now communities are not as homogenized and with the influx of different cultures and languages into the classrooms, the diversity is prompting a serious look at what isn't working in schools today.
While it is important to have a foundation and base, from which to reflect and core of information that all students should know for academic success, the means to the delivery of the content is really controversial. When the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 was established, it attempted to "factory-ize" education. Corporations tend to support the Republican Party so it would come as no surprise that the government leadership would heed advisement from corporations and try to maximize the time students are in school with the least expense and the biggest payback, which ultimately would be TEST SCORES. In some communities, test scores help sell homes. Those numbers have a lot of power. Highly paid administrators are high stakeholders in getting the numbers where they need to be. The problem is that far too many districts and even states are coming up way short on mastery of basic content, so they think. The problem is that the notion that ALL students will glean certain test scores is a fantasy concept.
Students learn at different rates and with different learning styles. This is why the 'factory-style' of one size fits all philosophy of standards-based curricula have challenges. Many low performing students come in far behind the rest of students due to learning disabilities, language barriers, apathy or lack of family support for success. The supporters of standards-based teaching will also argue that much of the problem is with the teachers and they are not teaching students enough or in the best form for academic success. But there have been millions of dollars invested in trainers and teacher time away from the classroom and better classroom preparation. While some new teachers may need extra help to jumpstart their career, generally, teachers should be coming to the job ready to perform the teaching duty expected of them.
In fact, teachers are professionals and more often than not, they really DO have the instincts and knowledge to know what is right for their students and how to inspire them to even surpass general state educational standards. Successful communities, where often only one parent is working, there are plenty of resources like libraries, museums, and extracurricular learning opportunities those student excel, due to the rich existing external stimulus and better intrinsic motivation. So while it's great to have this structure for low income or underperforming communities, the rigid minimum-based curriculum for all students is limiting.
We need to pick up our lagging energies in science and technology innovation and teaching to 'scientifically based' curriculum may be detrimental. It sounds good in practice but if one really researches the foundation FOR the 'scientifically-based' value, there is much to uncover than many administrators and community decision-makers may be unaware of. The funders and stakeholders of the research must be closely evaluated. Was the research done for and with special education students, where there may have been value with that population, one has to question if the results were only for that group or broadbrush then for simplicity of all students in a district, for ...
A learning environment with standards-based education isn't necessarily the answer for improving student learning.
An effective curriculum in some circles would argue this mandate, especially after the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 was established. But it attempted to "factory-ize" education and try to maximize the time students are in school with the least expense and the biggest payback. Ultimately TEST SCORES help sell homes and have a lot of power. Highly paid administrators are high stakeholders but maybe not the important intellectual growth of the child, nor stress test of the teacher.