Saturday, October 28, 2006


This weekend has been spent grading midterms exams. I have standards and high demands of my students. Yet, again, I am reminded of a trend I've noticed for several years.

My classes have been comprised of students who went through school after the "feel good" crowd implemented its system of lower standards and inflated grades. These students were shortchanged. They were not taught basic grammar; they were rewarded with high marks for mediocre work; they weren't pushed; and they weren't taught to think. Hence, it is more difficult for them than their predecessors to get "outside the box", to apply concepts to situations versus regurgitating an answer.

I do push and by the end of the semester, the vast majority of my students are very appreciative. But I often wonder how much easier their lives would have been if they had not been shortchanged in their first 12 years of education. I know this statement will upset many teachers. However, I believe more educators need to set standards, demand excellence, and push students to do more than they think they can do. When we indirectly tell students they either are not as good as they can be or we are dishonest with them by telling them they are better than their work merits (note, not them, their work) we short change them.

Thus, some standard is better than none. Most students are quite capable of meeting standards but they must be taught. They must learn that "work" and "earn" are four letter words that mean success in life. For an education system to do less is unfair to the students, parents, taxpayers, and society. If we demand more - we will get it.