This was written by Lynn Stoddard. It first appeared here.
It is wrong to hold teachers accountable with achievement testing for something that is impossible to do. It is impossible to make students alike in knowledge and skills. Students cannot be manufactured like automobiles or airplanes. Every person was born to be unique and different from all others.
What would happen if teachers were held accountable for doing things that are possible — like helping students develop their unique talents? What would happen if teachers were held responsible for stimulating student curiosity, developing the power to ask penetrating questions and to fall in love with learning? A better way to teach reading is to help students develop an insatiable curiosity about something.
When teachers and parents unite to help students grow in developing genuine inquiry and identity, students achieve more in basic skills, not all at the same time, but each one at his or her own time, pace and level.
If we stop trying to standardize students, but do the opposite — develop positive human diversity, we will be on the threshold of a revolution in public education. Why not start now? Why not Utah?