The unknown is often feared. My fear is that as teachers imagine the possibilities and are guided by wisdom and their own beliefs about education, many will provide an excellent educational opportunity for students and some will provide little or no educational opportunity. I'm afraid we will be asking each teacher to reinvent the wheel and some will make a better wheel while others will have no wheel at all. I think what you are proposing has possibilities for improving education long term, I am not sure what this process for improvement would cost our children in the short run and if the improvement would justify the cost. -LF
I think I anticipated a stronger reaction to my original text than any of you offered. I am struck, however, that you both use words such as "fear" and "frightening" to respond to the idea that teachers should have more responsibility in educating students and deliberating curriculum. I am not sure that my suggestions are any more (and, of course, I think less) frightening than the present state of schooling. Even without autonomy, some teachers are presently offering "an excellent educational opportunity"or "little or no educational opportunity." What I hope is that more of them will be offering "an excellent educational opportunity." The solution, I think, does not lie in more controls or checks on teachers, but in preparing teachers to make wise choices in their teaching. I take it as given that teachers interpret curriculum and programs according to their understandings of their contexts. What I would like to see is teacher education that takes this inevitable interpretation into account, that helps them to formulate with others educational purposes that will inform their work. To borrow (and perhaps misuse) Laura's wheel metaphor, I think that within standards-based reform, teachers are already given a wheel but their task becomes one of how they will put it to use it in ways that will be meaningful for their students.