In a recent article on Teacher, science educator Anthony Cody argued that, because of its emphasis on basic-skills testing, NCLB is lowering the value of "deeper learning" in schools. TMAO, in his blog, responds that Cody presents a false either-or dichotomy, but that, in any case, basic-skills must come first:
An enriched curriculum filled with electives, school 2.0 technologies, and 21st century skills ought to be set-up as pay-off for demonstrating mastery of all those basic skills so many folks work so long and hard to instill. We should establish basic skills as the necessary pre-requisites for the further avenues of study we all acknowledge as so very criticalyou know, yearbook, dioramas, and the french horn. The choice, then, is one faced by the individual, and determined by the individual's progress, and results in a tiered system of education, where students receive instruction geared toward their academic profile. This is also known as teaching kids what they need, and it's something more of us should do.
There's much more.