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One of the things that bothered me most about my education courses at university was the overemphasis on the standards. The standards were not always treated as the guide they should be, but they were instead presented more as the end-all, be-all of lesson planning. My peers treated their copies of the standards as if they were the bible of education.

In fact, it appeared to me that it was more important to make sure that your lesson plans followed a certain outline, including the standards right at the top, than it was to have lesson plans that would realistically engage students. (Half the lesson plans I wrote during my courses are ones that I would never actually use in the classroom due to some impracticality in the lesson.) We were told that because of the WASL and other testing fads, we would be required to produce evidence to administrators that each lesson met the standards. I guess nothing was more concrete than just plunking the standards in a lesson plan. It would be easier for us to deal with the hassle, as one instructor put it, if we learned right from the start how to provide that evidence up front in our lesson plans. The suggestion was made, too, to put them up in our classroom to show how dedicated we were to following state standards.

What many of us found, though, was that you could apply practically any standard to most lessons, regardless of the subject, due to the broad nature of the standards' language. It sickens me to think that we spent so much time learning about that rather than how to actually manage our future classrooms or learn about the greater issues of modern public school education.

Mama Squirrel

I didn't agree with you (much) over the important-books issue, but on this one I am with you all the way--and classroom teachers are not the only people guilty of (or stuck with) trying to teach to the standards (or get everything in the book done). Some homeschoolers are stuck (because of homeschool laws) trying to follow state or provincial guidelines which don't apply to their children; others feel (maybe because they're not confident about their own judgment) that they have to do every exercise in the workbook (and that their job's done when the book is).

There's a lot for all of us to learn in this area. I'll link to your post.

Ms. C.

I am a first year Teaching Fellow working for a Brooklyn school starting this September and I've had the standards shoved down my throat at every turn. I've been told to post them in my room, and live by them like a bible. My problem with it is that it makes teachers lazy! Where are the teachable moments if you have an obvious agenda? Sure, you may have a classroom that can crank out work...but what are the students actually learning?

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