In a letter in the New York Times, a former teacher, principal and superintendent from Portland, Oregon urges President Obama to improve schools by ignoring “achievement” and “rigor.”
Finally, I’d tell him to lose the words “achievement” and “rigor,” which have no connection to the inquisitiveness, determination, creative thinking and perseverance students need for genuine lifelong learning.
No connection? I remain dubious about the idea that those who’ve learned little in school will become “lifelong learners” at some happy day in the future. As for “inquisitiveness, determination, creative thinking and perseverance,” those traits usually lead to achievement in the here and now without the necessity of waiting till winged pigs are ice-skating in hell. I don’t even think that “achievement” and “rigor” foreclose the possibility of “creative thinking.” Not unless “creative” is a synonym for “wrong” and “thinking” means “making a poster.”
The letter was a response to a Times’ editorial, “Ending the ‘Race to the Bottom’,” which praised President Obama’s education speech.