High school administrators called a meeting with their school's subject department leaders. Recently, students and parents had begun comparing how some teachers were teaching, and the administration were fielding many calls from parents about how different teachers were teaching the same courses in different ways. Some teachers gave different assignments, others gave less quizzes while others others gave more or less homework.
Years ago, the departments had already decided to standardize their final assessments. The reasoning being that every student in the same class, regardless of teacher, should do the same final exam. It seemed only fair, and it solved a lot of problems based on complaints from students and parents about some of the variances in exam format and difficulty (which depended on the teacher).
Because students and parents were now complaining about the differences between the frequency and format of each teacher's assignments, the administration proposed that assignments should be standardized like the assessments.
Of course the teachers were up in arms about the entire suggestion - the idea of standardizing assignments was immediately rejected, and the administrators backed off.
I think this story should teach us two things:
Firstly, administrators who field complaints from parents should redirect parents immediately to the teacher whom they have a concern with. Good administrators know that every teacher teaches and assesses differently and are happy for it. But if the students and parents have a legitimate gripe about a teacher's teaching, then simply forcing all teachers to comply to an arbitrary consistency won't solve anything - the ability for an administrator to dismiss complaints by simply saying, "all teachers here teach that way" is hardly a solution. No administrator worth having as an administrator would ever see this as an acceptable solution. In fact, the real problem isn't that parents are calling; but that the parents aren't calling the teacher directly to have an honest conversation about their child's learning is at the heart of the issue.
Secondly, the teachers disgust for standardized assignments should not be limited to just the assignments. Standardization is driven by mistrust, and needs to be rejected at all levels. Standardization at the global level, is equally as reprehensible as it is at the national, provincial, district or even school level.
If teachers are trusted enough to spend a good chunk of every day instructing, coaching and teaching students in a way that is tailored to the learners' needs, then why aren't teacher trusted to assess their students' based on the learners' personalized needs?
Removing the teachers' and students' voices from deciding how they shall learn is no more or less distrustful and disrespectful than removing their voice from how their learning shall be assessed.
Standardization is not part of the solution; it is part of the problem.