Writing for the online publication,, last week, Mary Elizabeth Williams engaged in some brilliant reasoning in her article, “How Nationalized Education Standards Ruin Schools.”

National Standards testing began under President G. W. Bush and has been expanded by President Obama.

The unintended results will include a decline in thinking, reasoning and individual achievement.

Why the federal government continues to believe that all problems can be solved with new regulations and additional laws is beyond me. That is certainly not going to work with our public education system — even if math and reading and science scores rise.

There is a lot more to an “educated man or woman” than reading and math and science score achievement.

Williams quotes author Alfie Kohn writing in the “Times’ Room for Debate” page: “Uniformity isn’t the same thing as excellence; high standards don’t require common standards.” Williams comments, “What constitutes excellence and achievement is specific to each child. It’s reassuring to look at numbers or letters and say whether a mark has been hit, but the data tells next to nothing about the individuals it represents.”

Further, she writes, “If you consider learning something that extends beyond what’s on the math and English standards, accept that your kids are going to be spending more of their school days busily drilling for tests, because stuff like art and music and phys ed are just too hard to quantify. And if your dreams for your children are more than to ‘provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare for college and the workforce’ so they can ‘compete successfully in the global economy’ — like, say, fostering critical thought or a love of learning, do it on your own time.”

America’s greatest educator, Robert Maynard Hutchins had it right when he said, “The objective of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.”

I don’t think “drilling and practicing” math and reading and science is going to be sufficient to accomplish Hutchins’ objective. Not by a long shot — ?!?

More on Thursday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning