01/05/07 — Higher standards: Are we really ready for them?

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Higher standards: Are we really ready for them?

Everybody talks about how much more we want from our schools — and how much more pressure needs to be put on school leaders to get there.

We rant, rave and fingerpoint — all in the name of improving education.

But if we really want to talk about improving schools and getting the most out of our children, we need to talk about something else, too — failure.

Making sure all children can function at grade level means giving some parents bad news — their child has not earned the scores necessary to move on to the next grade.

And while that might be hard to hear, receiving the message is critical if we are going to make achievement and not chronological age the measure by which we move children on to the next grade.

Along with that requirement, we also need to provide the materials and remedial instruction necessary to get these children who need extra time the assistance they need to acquire basic reading and math skills.

By setting the bar, and then providing the remedy in case the ability is not there yet, we tell our children that these are skills we see as important. We tell them that we insist they master them before they move on into the real world.

The only question that remains is if we are ready to take that kind of stand.

Published in Editorials on January 5, 2007 11:17 AM