Since the 1990s, US educational authorities push for higher standards in curriculum development (Parkay et al., 2019). This push is associated with a common belief that all students can meet a certain set of standards regardless of their individual differences (Parkay et al., 2019). While there is a rationale behind this belief, there are people who support and oppose the current trend. The present paper summarizes the argument for and against higher standards in curriculum development and provides an analysis of the matter. The paper argues that even though higher curriculum standards can increase the competitiveness of US education in the world arena, the disadvantages of such a push outweigh the advantages.
Arguments for High Curriculum Standards
There are distinct benefits of promoting high curriculum standards on all levels. First, a clear identification of what is expected from students can improve their achievement (Parkay et al., 2019). It is only natural that if students and teachers know exactly where to go from the start, they have a higher chance of reaching the destination together. Second, standards on all levels create equal opportunities for people from different areas (Parkay et al., 2019). In other words, if students from one place adhere to lower standards than students from another place, their knowledge level will differ considerably. Third, national standards help to coordinate education and support continuity of education even if students move between areas (Parkay et al., 2019). Fourth, standards and assessments protect the students and their parents by providing accurate information about the achievement level of the students (Parkay et al., 2019). Finally, standards serve a signaling device for a wide variety of stakeholders (Parkay et al., 2019). In summary, having national curriculum standards is very convenient for the country, as it creates a universal assessment mechanism that can be applied to every student and education facility.
Arguments against High Curriculum Standards
The critics of high curriculum standards express numerous concerns about the push for higher curriculum standards. First, high standards may continue to increase the achievement gap between students from advantaged backgrounds and their less advantageous counterparts (Parkay et al., 2019). This can also lead to significant education disparities between rich and poor schools (Parkay et al., 2019). Second, higher standards can lead to the development of the national curriculum, which will increase the influence of the federal government on education in all states. Third, the push to higher standards can lead to undoing education gains made by underrepresented groups (Parkay et al., 2019). Fourth, raising standards may take attention away from more meaningful educational reforms (Parkay et al., 2019). Finally, standards are often vague and open for interpretation, which does not allow universal assessment of students (Parkay et al., 2019). Thus, there are significant disadvantages of higher curriculum standards that should be considered.
Analysis and Personal Opinion
The supporters believe that higher standards can improve students’ achievements on average; however, there is a strong possibility that it will increase the achievement gap. Thus, for me, the question of whether higher standards are good or bad is a question of whether the system of education should take a statistical or personal approach. Since I care for every one of my students individually, I cannot entirely agree with the statistical approach. I do not think that the purpose of the US educational system is to improve the average achievement of students to become competitive in the world arena. I believe that the educational system should help children become happy, balanced people. All the students are different, and nobody knows the educational needs of the students better than their teachers do. I believe that the push to higher standards is simply based on the wrong idea. Thus, while it can improve the average performance of students, it will create many damaged souls.
Parkay, F. W., Anctil, E. J., & Hass, G. (2019). Curriculum leadership: Readings for developing quality educational programs (10th ed.). Allyn & Bacon.