Alternate National Education Standards


This is a sort-of tongue in cheek look at what if all students had to be graded on and successfully meet the following personal productivity standards before exiting high school.
  • Be able to build a 10 x 10 shed.
  • Cut and split at least 1 cord of wood
  • Plant a garden and harvest the crop
  • Hunt, kill, prepare and cook a critter to eat.
  • Figure out what’s wrong with a vehicle that won’t start and fix it so that it will.
  • Properly landscape a yard, so the water drains properly and still looks good.
  • Drive a 4-wheel drive vehicle or 4-wheeler, where you want to go without getting stuck or if you get stuck, know how to get it out.
  • Catch a fish, kill the fish, clean the fish, cook the fish, eat the fish.
  • Be there while a critter is being born and help ensure everything goes okay.
  • Assist in a nursing home for at least a week.
  • Help build or repair a trail someplace that requires you to be outdoors for at least 5 days.
  • Assist at the local fire station for at least a week.
These and many more make more sense for most students than much of the stuff that is taught in the classroom today. These are some of the rural standards, someone else would have to do the urban standards. Does anyone have any other standards to include for rural or urban standards?
I know that many people who are attempting to promote the Common Standards are well meaning and want to see education in the U.S. improve. But what makes their standards anymore important to a student or their family than the one’s that I have listed above? Which would be more practical for most students, learning how to plant a garden or knowing how to solve the Pythagorean Theorem by the end of their Eighth Grade year in school.
Then there is the controversy down in Texas over their state standards, which significantly influences what most publishers use as a basis for what they put in their textbooks, which are also used throughout the United States — talk about misuse of influence. This dispute shows how quickly and “easily” a small number of people can control the majority and quickly re-write “things” to meet their biases and requirements, not whether it is the truth or reality.
  • That is the biggest issue I have with standards – who’s standards are they?
  • What do they mean and how easily can they be subverted for non-educational reasons?
One set of Common Standards for the entire Country scares me…how easily could they be changed in the future, to meet a minority opinion of what should be taught throughout this Country.
Centralization may be great for many things, but is it right course for education?
What are the safeguards that are going to be in place to ensure that no one group (political or religious) monopolizes or is able to revise Common Standards in Education America? What happened in Texas concerns me, imagine this happening at the Centralized Common Standard level – that scares the hell out of me. Does it you?
This post went from a fairly light hearted look at standards to something more – think about why it did?
and as always
Have you made a difference today? How?

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Here we go again. IDEA is up for renewal and President Obama will introduce the administration’s proposal on Monday to Congress. The words that caught my attention which were on Twitter:


all students should graduate from high school prepared for college and a career”…

I realize that this might be considered cherry-picking, but it follows a pattern from leadership that has been followed for several years now, that all students should go to college.

I am adding the following quote to this post, I got it from a link that @smeech on Twitter provided and it seems to be more fodder for the direction the powers that be want K-12 to go.

Amy Wilkins, a vice president with The Education Trust in Washington, D.C., called the blueprint a “culture shift.”

“One of the things America has not been clear about is what k-12 is supposed to do,” Wilkins said. “In this, we’re saying K-12 is supposed to prepare kids for college and meaningful careers.” (Turner)

Turner, Dorie. “Obama promise: Focus on getting kids to college.” Yahoo News. Associated Press, 13 Mar 2010. Web. 14 Mar 2010. <
My question is does the Obama administration and the educational leadership that has this administration’s ear,  believe that the real mission of K-12 schools is to simply become college preparation facilities?

The reality is that not all students are going to go to college, not allstudents want to go to college and not all students are going to be college ready when they graduate high school. To say that students will be or to mandate them being college ready by legislation is delusional at best or at worst an outright lie to the people this legislation will affect.

This is the way it really is, the sooner that our leadership acknowledges this and starts ACTUALLY looking at other solutions than the “just go to college” solution, schools can become places of learning again, that meet the needs of more of students than just the college bound ones, along with the artificial college prep standards that too many of our students will never achieve.
In today’s world many students are not going to have careers, they are still going to have jobs. They are going to be service workers, plumbers, farmers, the armed forces, wait staff, landscapers, auto repair work and other jobs that can be only be done locally – the jobs that cannot be exported in our flat world.
Does preparing these students for college prepare them for the jobs that they will actually have? Sort of- maybe, but not to the extent that a high school could or should. Preparing a student for college indicates that they will have 2-8 more years of school to get ready for their career after high school and experience life beyond their homes.
Those who will not go to college need to be ready to start their job immediately after high school ends for that student whether it is as a drop-out, certificate of attendance or graduate. In most cases today they are not ready for much of anything when they leave high school and end up working the lowest of the menial service jobs or resorting to crime. Starting at the bottom is one thing, but high schools can/should prepare students for when school ends much better than we do today, so that those students aren’t at the very bottom if they choose not to go to college.
As has been stated and asked several times in my PLN and on Twitter.  What is the school’s mission in today’s world?  No one really knows what or which mission a school needs to accomplish.  Until we answer that question realistically and honestly how can we answer this question?
Is it the high school’s job to prepare all students for college and a career or is it high school’s job to prepare a student for their future – whatever that future may be: college, landscaping, automotive repair, the military…let the students and their families decide?
Do we (do you) have the right to make all students walk the same path even though it is not the one they may want to use?

My position is that I strongly disagree with all leadership that believes having all students ready to attend college is the answer for all our problems in education

and as always
Have you made a difference today? How?

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