National Standards: How much will it affect teachers’ curriculum?

After our class discussion, and reading Issue 1 in Taking Sides, I am still wondering how much national standards will affect my day-to-day curriculum as a teacher.  I do believe that as teachers we should be held to a certain standard, just as we will hold our students to standards in the classroom.  I also see how difficult it can be to hold teachers and students to standards without giving tests, but I think that when testing is the only option it becomes very stressful for the students and teachers.  It can create teachers only teaching to the test.  Personally, I would like my students to leave my classroom at the end of the year able to use the skills I taught them in any real life situation.  It is so important to show students how they can use each lesson outside of the classroom, and if teachers are only showing students how to get good grades on a national test students will not be able to use the skills elsewhere.

In reading Issue 1, the section that is for national standards states that there is a lack of educational priority, and that across the country some states standards are not their priority.  I agree with this idea in that many states do not make educational standards a priority but maybe the government should focus on holding those states to make sure their own state standards are met before making the national standards the next option.  When traveling to South Africa in a program that accepts almost anyone, I met many different people from across the country.  I met people from New York, Texas, California and Kentucky to name a few, and we were all about the same age and we had not read the same books in high school, and we had not learned the same ways to do division, but we all had interesting stories to tell.  On page 8 of Taking Sides it states “in the United States, we continue to pretend that math in Birmingham is different than math in Boston,”  and I disagree with this statement because I believe that math should continue to be different in those areas.  I do not pretend to be a world traveler, or know everything about how math and other subjects are taught across the United States, but meeting all of the people I did I see that it is apart of being an American to be a large mixing pot of different cultures and understandings.  I do not know all about the national standards but if making them will create a national curriculum, or make teachers start teaching to tests, I do not see how they are going to benefit the students.

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