Standards for American schools: help or hindrance?
Efforts to reform American schools are not exactly a novel enterprise. When the Soviet Union sent Sputnik circling the globe in 1957 the US Congress looked to the schools to recover what we had thought we had: leadership in space. The curriculum reform movement of the 1960s was intended, in part, to help us regain our technological superiority in the Cold War. In the 1970s “accountability” became the central concept around which our education reform efforts turned. If only we could identify the expected outcomes of instruction and invent means to describe their presence, school administrators and teachers could be held accountable for the quality of their work.