Marian Greenblatt Education Fund                                                   info@greenblatteducationfund.org

 

Marian on Minimum Compentency Standards

 

 

Minimal Competency Standards

 

Speech presented by Dr. Marian Greenblatt to the National School Board Association, Dallas, Texas, April 1981

I believe our society is confused about the purposes of a public school system and how to achieve specific social and educational goals. This confusion has led to a decline in achievement and in turn has resulted in a crisis in confidence in the schools. No longer can it be swept under the rug. This must be aggressively addressed…

 

I believe our society, and our educators in particular, have confused two concepts: equal educational opportunity and equal academic achievement…We must acknowledge that equal opportunity for schooling will not result in equal achievement. Unfortunately, in the past some educators have created the false expectation that all students can or should obtain a high school diploma…

 

In our enthusiasm for equality…we have watered down the diploma to a virtually mea-ningless piece of paper…We have made attendance the prerequisite of a diploma. As a result we have lost the respect of the colleges, as well as the very public…on whom we depend for fiscal support…

 

Social promotion is part of the problem…Children are passed along from grade to grade whether or not they have mastered specific skills…

 

We must stop making excuses, must focus on results and must be held accountable. Only by establishing firm standards can we regenerate the respect people (should) have for our educational systems. Strong action, by us, is long overdue…

 

I enthusiastically support…three types of certification… an attendance certificate, a competency- based diploma and a college preparation diploma…

 

Accountability is the key word. In most states it has been mandated by the outcry about the quality of…our educational system…

 

I believe the standard (for competency tests) is set too low. It is not perfect, but it is a start. It sets a direction for us to work in, and results in higher achievement as we stick to it, so I think it is good…

 

The competency movement is here to stay. People demand accountability, and they rightfully want good value for their taxes. I feel very strongly that the benefits derived from setting standards will far outweigh the problems…

 

In sum, while we believe in equal educational opportunity, we cannot expect equal academic achievement. The credibility of the public school system depends on board members making the commitment to raise standards to get greater achievement and then having courage enough to withstand the pressure so that there will be renewed respect for the high school diploma.

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