Standards Based Instruction Rationales and Objections
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act, commonly known as No Child Left Behind, requires states to use academic content standards to benchmark federally mandated “adequate yearly progress”, in an effort to continually improve schools. Even though they remain controversial, state content standards have emerged as the most common way to meet this mandate. Regardless of our views about the future of the standards, one fact remains: there is definitely a higher content standards movement in U.S. education. (O'Shea, 2005) However, the question remains: how does this movement actually impacts schools and students? While it would be intuitive to assume that it is always good to have higher standards, there are several good arguments both for and against having higher content standards.
One argument for using higher content standards in education is that higher standards “ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live.” (CCSSO & NGACenter, 2015) Along with this, is the idea that we need to be preparing our kids for participation in a global economy as well. If you look at other high performing countries, they - more often than not – have very high content standards in education.
A second argument for the practice of using high content standards is that it “evens the playing field” and helps close the achievement gap between ethnic and racial groups. (Core Knowledge, 2015) The logic is that when we teach all of our children the same content and expect the same high standards in an effort to create equity for all children. There is also an underlying assumption that shared knowledge draws people together, and creates a shared sense of identity, which is much needed in our modern, multi-cultural society.
However, not everyone agrees that higher standards are the best solution to fix our...