The following post is based on thoughts related to:
Letters to the Editor that the NY Times has recently received concerning public schools. The link is: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/17/opinion/l17educ.html?emc=eta1
Joanne Yatvin writes, “…lose the words “achievement” and “rigor,” which have no connection to the inquisitiveness, determination, creative thinking and perseverance students need for genuine lifelong learning.”
Ms Yatvin and I differ on our working definitions of rigor and achievement. I define rigor as the depth of instruction. Think of Bloom’s taxonomy. I believe rigor is getting past the application level of knowledge. When a significant amount of instructional time is spent at the application level and higher, students do become better problem solvers, make better connections to the real world, become more engaged and perform better on standardized assessments.
My working definition of achievement is a combination of growth, performance vs. peers, and results based on standards. I believe that this definition is innately connected to inquisitiveness, determination, creative thinking and perseverance. The problem that I see is that the measuring of achievement means that someone has to be accountable for it occurring. And if one is suddenly accountable for something that they were not before, then the natural response is to resist the change.
In summation, I don’t doubt Ms. Yatvin’s commitment to public education. I just view the glass as half full. I believe that this is the best time ever for a committed principal and her staff can change their little part of the education world for the better.
Think. Work. Achieve.