One Size Fits Few by Susan Ohanian. The Folly of Educational Standards
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One Size Fits Few

One Size Fits Few

The Folly of Educational Standards

    We're lucky to have someone like Susan Ohanian who is willing to take on all the pious nonsense about Standards.
    —Alfie Kohn, Author of Punished by Rewards and No Contest
    Ohanian’s work is a refreshing call to action. . . . This will hit a responsive note with many school leaders.
    —The School Administrator
One Size Fits Few is a sharp, pointed pin with which to deflate the overblown pro-Standards movement. In her hilarious, unsparing, and often touching narrative, Susan Ohanian—a teacher, author, and frequent contributor to the Atlantic, Education Week, and other publications—recounts
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    We're lucky to have someone like Susan Ohanian who is willing to take on all the pious nonsense about Standards.
    —Alfie Kohn, Author of Punished by Rewards and No Contest
    Ohanian’s work is a refreshing call to action. . . . This will hit a responsive note with many school leaders.
    —The School Administrator
One Size Fits Few is a sharp, pointed pin with which to deflate the overblown pro-Standards movement. In her hilarious, unsparing, and often touching narrative, Susan Ohanian—a teacher, author, and frequent contributor to the Atlantic, Education Week, and other publications—recounts her quest to make sense of the Standards movement.

"Making sense" is no small feat, as we see when Ohanian muses on school districts withholding diplomas from students who fail to demonstrate "necessary knowledge" of topics such as covalent bonds, the Edict of Nantes, La Cucaracha, and the Slough of Despond.

Balance is even more elusive in the media, as is evident when Ohanian drafts an op-ed piece on Goals 2000 for USA Today. When her editor repeatedly finds the real-life students she portrays "too unique," too urban, too nonstandard, she realizes that all he wants to know is "how the kids in Grosse Pointe measure up against the kids in Larchmont or Palo Alto, and how both compare to the Japanese."

Ironically, even in Japan, Ohanian finds gross denial: When she asks "What happens when a child fails to keep up with his peers?," she is reassured that this never happens. Yet no one can explain how the McDonald's clerk fits into the Japanese educational/social system.

Underlying the irony is a call to action. "It is my moral duty to offer a counterargument to people who would try to streamline, sanitize, and standardize education" says Ohanian. "When we get down to the realities of the classroom . . . the antics of Standardistos are no longer funny . . . what we need to do is fight back."


Visit www.susanohanian.org

Visit Susan Ohanian online for a wealth of information on education issues and to learn more about her. You'll find commentary, cartoons, letters, resources, quotes and a word of the day offering children a provocative way to increase their vocabulary.

Contents

Contents:
I. What's Wrong with Standards
1.
Whose Standards These Are, I Think I Know
2. Standard Timetables for Nonstandard Kids
3. Standard Fare: The Rich Get Richer, The Poor Get Ignored
II. With Liberty and Standards for All: Looking at Standards Around the Country
4.
The Baseball/Medical Metaphors That Rule and Ruin Education
5. Californication
6. It's the Economy, Stupid
III. Fighting Back
7.
Counting on Kids and Their Teachers