Monday, July 25, 2011

Standards: Where Would We Be Without Them?

"And really, I think what we're talking about is standards, basically; very, very specific, rigid, you could say, but in this world where would we be without them, I think. And notice where we are." -- Best in Show

I'm not sure that I can improve on this quote from one of my favorite films. Why doesn't anyone care about anything any more? People appear to be willing to settle for mediocre service, and customer service is no longer about customers or service. This is not my view alone; plenty of other people have commented on this, blogged on this, ranted about this.

And it's not just customer service. Schools all across the United States are lowering standards so that students appear to be doing better than they are. The recent scandal in Atlanta shows how this can be taken to extremes. WHAT were the teachers and administrators thinking? Did they really imagine that just because a student got a high grade on a test that it didn't matter that they didn't actually know the subject matter? The mind boggles.

I remember a saying (paraphrased) from my youth: Let's make this accessible to the lowest common denominator. The entire world seems to have taken this to heart. Don't make people work to understand things; dumb it down, and in the process get it wrong, but, hey, who cares? We'l just move on to something else.

But it all DOES matter. If everyone really began to care about standards, and really aimed for the stars rather than settling for "just getting through it," just think about how much better the world would be.

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