Uniform Curriculum And School Leadership Standards
By: John Denvert
There has been a lot of information in the news about the movement to improve public education. Developing school leadership standards is among the first steps that must be taken. Discovering what works and what does not is the process that will bring us to common ground. Understanding the best practices that brings success to every student is the goal.
There are several players who have contrasting roles. First, of course, are the pupils who are paramount. They need to succeed, not only for their sake, but for the sake of employers who need skilled workers for their businesses. Next are teachers and school administrators. They have a huge stake because their compensation depends on them doing a good job. Finally, there are the policy makers and elected officials who must answer to the demands of the public to improve the public educational system.
Requiring students to achieve uniform academic objectives in mathematics, writing and reading is the primary principle. Standardized examinations are necessary to measure the extent that the objectives are being met. The objectives must be clear and measurable. The subject matter that is taught is geared to achieving the objectives. It is recognized that poverty, ethnic background, and each individual student's talents have an impact on how well they learn. Nonetheless, all students are held to the same high expectations.
High-stakes tests are imposed in order to determine how well the goals are being met. Without the examinations, there would not be any tools to take measure of how well the system is doing. The tests provide the feedback that is necessary to take stock and make helpful interventions. Exam results help teachers and administrator to concentrate on those areas where they are falling short. It is an important part of the process that will ensure that children are prepared when they enter the job market.
Accountability is another key principle. Without accountability, teachers and administrators have no incentive to improve. Ultimately they must be held accountable. Students are not the only players who are held to a high level of expected results. Teachers and administrators also must meet challenging objectives. Teacher compensation can be based on test results so they are rewarded for their efforts. Where the goals are not being met, there must be an intervention to correct the situation.
The specific content that is taught to students is at the core of standards based education. The plans must specify in detail the subject matter that a student must display competency in. These are sorted by grade level. The details of subject matter is not left to the teacher's discretion. In order to ensure uniformity, an exact curriculum must be followed. This uniformity is necessary to measure results.
Officials audit the academic performance to see if the objectives have been met. The results are available for public scrutiny to maintain transparency. The system of accountability invokes consequences for success and failure. There is intervention when a district is failing. The scope of the intervention is controlled by state and federal laws.
School leadership standards must establish a high level of achievement for every student. It is based on the value that each pupil ought to be challenged by the subject matter. All pupils ought to be prepared for the current economic climate. They ought to possess the skills required to thrive in our twenty-first century economy.