The Case Against “Tougher Standards”

The Case Against "Tougher Standards" By Alfie Kohn People who talk about educational "standards" use the term in different ways. Sometimes they're referring to guidelines for teaching, the implication being that we should change the nature of instruction -- a horizontal shift, if you will. (In the case of the standards drafted by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics ... Read More

Poor Teaching for Poor Children … in the Name of Reform (##)

EDUCATION WEEK April 27, 2011 Poor Teaching for Poor Children … in the Name of Reform By Alfie Kohn [This is a slightly expanded version of the published article.] Love them or hate them, the proposals collectively known as “school reform” are mostly top-down policies:  divert public money to quasi-private charter schools, pit states against one another in a race ... Read More

“Ready to Learn” = Easier to Educate (##)

The phrase “ready to learn,” frequently applied to young children, is rather odd when you stop to think about it, because the implication is that some kids aren’t. Have you ever met a child who wasn’t ready to learn — or, for that matter, already learning like crazy? The term must mean something much more . . . (Read More)

Moving Beyond Facts, Skills, and Right Answers

From Chapter 3: "Getting Teaching and Learning Wrong" in The Schools Our Children Deserve (Houghton Mifflin, 1999) Moving Beyond Facts, Skills, and Right Answers By Alfie Kohn The trouble with the Tougher Standards movement isn’t limited to its failure to understand the costs of overemphasizing achievement.  The movement is also vulnerable by virtue of the way it defines achievement.  The vast majority of policy makers ... Read More