Back to all news

Why High Expectations Are Not Enough

In the News | December 16, 2019

In his latest column for Forbes, MƒA President John Ewing informs us how using the term “high expectations” in education has become a major element in the reformist attack on teachers and traditional schools. He writes how claims that high expectations are all that's necessary for children to succeed in school is simply ridiculous.

“A few of those who make this claim may believe it, but most use the sophistry merely to make an accusation—that many teachers have low expectations. Their argument goes like this: For children to succeed, we must have high expectations (true enough); since many children do not succeed, many teachers must have low expectations! This is nonsense of course—a logical fallacy.”

Ewing also writes that “high expectations” have been co-opted in a more subtle way, as standards. He says that standards are no longer frameworks that guide but rather cudgels that coerce and punish – referencing the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) at the elementary level as a prime example.

“One can argue about whether the mathematics in CCSSM is appropriate for most students in elementary school, but there is no argument about whether they are appropriate for most teachers. They are not. One hopes that over time this situation will change, but with nearly two million elementary teachers already in classrooms, it will take decades to happen.”

Read Ewing’s full Forbes column on high expectations here.