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Will Standards Save Public Education?

reviewed by Kennon Sheldon - 2002

coverTitle: Will Standards Save Public Education?
Author(s): Deborah Meier
Publisher: Beacon Press, Boston
ISBN: 0807004413, Pages: 104 , Year: 2000
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This essay by Deborah Meier, published in the "New Democracy Forum" series, addresses the potentially pernicious effects of top-down standard-setting and testing. The essay reveals a deep and practiced intuition into the factors which make for the very best in public education. Meier argues that the best and most vibrant schools are largely locally shaped, via democratic interactions and negotiations among students, teachers, parents, and community. She fears that federally-imposed standards tend to be superficial and overbearing, relying overmuch on circumscribed tests which likely will not tell us whether the true goals of education (i.e. creating responsible citizens who are also life-long learners) are being met. I am a motivation theorist, not an educational psychologist. Nevertheless, I have had some opportunity to consider the impact of top-down standards upon school reform (Sheldon & Biddle, 1998). Indeed, many of Meier’s arguments and prescriptions are consistent with our own predominant frame of reference, self-determination theory (SDT; Ryan & Deci, 2000). This theory, under development for more than 30 years, emphasizes... (preview truncated at 150 words.)

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 104 Number 1, 2002, p. 96-98
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10666, Date Accessed: 4/10/2021 8:06:53 AM

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About the Author
  • Kennon Sheldon
    University of Missouri
    E-mail Author
    Kennon M. Sheldon is a Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Missouri. He specializes in the application Self-Determination theory in the study of goals, motivation, and well-being. His most recent publication is "Goal striving, need-satisfaction, and longitudinal well-being: The self-concordance model," by Sheldon and Elliot, which appeared in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 1999. An upcoming project of his is a book he has co-authored with Joiner and Williams entitled "Self-determination and Health: Prescriptions for Professionals" (MIT Press).
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