To the Editor:
The basic problem of the debates over both the No Child Left Behind Act and the Common Core State Standards is the belief held by some that all children should be taught the same thing at the same time and be measured against each other to see whether progress has been made.
This has not worked for past generations, and will not work for future generations. Each child is different—cognitively, socially, physically, and emotionally—and should never be measured against the accomplishments or growth of another child. Children are not created on an assembly line, with the end products to be compared with those from other assembly lines.
The common-core standards could be useful as a tool for teachers to guide students to create their own individual goals for attainment. The tests themselves can only be useful for an individual student to see if he or she has in fact accomplished those individual goals and to plot the next steps on the continuum of the common standards.
These standards should be based on the basic skills for reading, math, science, social studies, and the arts as they are used for a life of continuous learning. The content addressed for accomplishing those skills will differ from child to child, school to school, and state to state. Thus, trying to compare schools and states is a worthless endeavor that wastes money and creates school dropouts.
Nancy S. Self
College Station, Texas
The author is a retired clinical associate professor from Texas A&M University.
A version of this article appeared in the April 01, 2015 edition of Education Week as Both NCLB and the Common Core Ignore Students’ Individuality