One of the things the assessment gurus of corporate-style education don’t like is the idea of professors in complete control of the curriculum and pedagogy in their own classrooms. They want everyone “to be on the same page,” feeling that education has no value unless done in unison. This is the thinking behind most cries for “standards.” There are things, the assumption is, that everyone needs to know.

The trouble is, this is an elitist attitude leaving decisions to a cognoscenti with very little experience in those worlds whose needs they are defining. Certainly, few who create standards have recent classroom experience or true understanding of the lives today’s students live and will live. This attitude is also extremely regressive. One of the problems with the “great books” concept for learning is that it, of necessity, redefines the past, reifying certain attitudes and choices unnecessarily and limiting exploration to marked paths. 

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