Curriculum Letter to the Editor

Education’s Faulty Base to Blame for Poor Results?

August 20, 2010 1 min read

To the Editor:

The only way to eliminate the problems with public education, which are created by the system structure, is to eliminate the basic erroneous expectation upon which the system is built: that all children of a given chronological age develop cognitively at the same rate.

We acknowledge that children are unique in their learning styles, abilities, interests, and cultural backgrounds, but still insist that they all learn at the same pace. Dropouts, the need for retention, learning gaps, and underachievers could be totally eliminated if schools were structured to honor differences rather than compare students on their rate of cognitive development.

Students and teachers are trapped in the “box of education” and are being smothered by fear and the system’s manufactured opportunities for failure. It would be ludicrous to measure children’s bodies each year to see if they met a standard of inches and ounces gained, declaring some to be “undergrowers” and failures. Yet we do it to their minds.

The new common standards should be changed to a curriculum continuum along which students may move at their own pace, guided by knowledgeable teachers who facilitate cognitive growth and a love of learning. Federal initiatives such as the Race to the Top should be refocused to equalize opportunities for all children. Funds are being poured into a “building” with a faulty foundation, and failure is inevitable.

Nancy S. Self
College Station, Texas

A version of this article appeared in the August 25, 2010 edition of Education Week as Education’s Faulty Base to Blame for Poor Results?


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Speech Therapists
Lancaster, PA, US
Lancaster Lebanon IU 13
Elementary Teacher
Madison, Wisconsin
One City Schools

Read Next

Curriculum 6 Ways to Help Students Make Sense of the Capitol Siege
A week after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, teachers are helping students figure out how the country got to this point.
15 min read
Image of the Capitol building shown in a rearview mirror.
Macrocosm Photography/E+
Curriculum Theater Educators Struggle to Keep Shows Going Amid COVID-19
Convinced that the show must go on, high school theater troupes are turning to livestreamed shows, outdoor performances, and radio plays.
8 min read
Wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, students from New Albany (Ind.) High School perform the musical “Bright Star” earlier this year.
Wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, students from New Albany (Ind.) High School perform the musical “Bright Star” earlier this year.
Photo courtesy of Crit Fisher
Curriculum Letter to the Editor Curriculum as a Lever for Racial Equity
To the Editor:
The special report "Big Ideas for Confronting Racism in Education" (Sept. 23, 2020) highlighted essential ingredients for creating anti-racist schools, including better teacher preparation, expanded anti-bias training, and universal internet access, among others.
1 min read
Curriculum What Should Students Learn in Sex Education? In This State, Voters Will Decide
Washington voters will consider a statewide mandate for comprehensive sex education.
6 min read
sex ed SOC 2