What About Standards and Accreditation? Fears and Concerns Series (Part 8)

One of the most common fears and concerns at the secondary stage of learning is meeting high school standards and accreditation.

Standards are very difficult to define. Even a certificated teacher can’t actually define what a standard is other than as a process.

The dictionary definition of a standard is “a required or agreed upon level of quality or attainment,” or “an idea or thing used as a measure or norm or model in a comparative evaluation.”

Confusing? The question is, what are we comparing? People? Really?

The modern world has over seven billion people and it is estimated that more than 100 billion people have walked this earth since its creation.

When considering that no two people have ever been the same or shared the same fingerprint for that matter, the idea that we can standardize humans is preposterous. Yet most people assume that standards for education not only exist, but can actually be reached even when they cannot be clearly defined.

If standards for people cannot exist or be properly defined, how then can they be measured or universally applied? The advancing of standards in education is one of the biggest lies told by the industry. Forcing students into doing the same thing at the same time at each level of a predetermined schedule is not to maintain a standard, but to make sure they all end up the same.

Let me tell you what standards are. The only place that I can really apply this dictionary definition of a standard is in a factory. All the products coming off the assembly line had better be the same. You do it for quality control, which is designed to prevent problems.

When we apply the dictionary definitions of standards to school, we realize that there are a number of similarities between it and industry. We want to make sure that all the products coming off the assembly line are the same, for quality control, to prevent problems. Yet no two teachers will be able to consistently deliver or meet these supposed standards.

There are your standards. They are more a measure of how everyone should be. Not how to think, but what to think. Not celebrating God’s created diversity and freedom, but the secular alternative of standardizing all to a bondage of conformity. If everyone is the same, it is much easier to control them.

Now on to accreditation.

Accreditation is the action or process of officially recognizing a person as having a particular status or being qualified to perform a certain activity, or official certification that a school or course has met standards as set by an external regulator.

This dictionary definition is more complicated stuff that is based on a faulty notion that people can be standardized! What this translates into, is that there are ways and means to make sure that people are properly trained to accomplish a particular task and to do it well.

It is a good thing to have expectations of people and standards for positions. The problem is that we get this all mixed up and start expecting the standardization of people, rather than of skills.

Accreditation is best understood when looking at certification. A person who is licensed or certified to do a particular job is accredited by an agency as having met certain expectations and requirements to properly and safely conduct themselves in that position.

Once again, this is not to standardize the person, but the level of skill needed to do the job. We would expect nurses to have some level of training, as we would the welder, the lawyer or any other position. To have a standard expectation of excellence is fine.

However, when put into perspective, seeking accreditation is to seek approval from man. This also is okay if we can keep this standard to positions, not people. When seeking accreditation in a high school program, we seek man’s approval of what God has created and that does not make sense. Man’s school program and God’s directives do not have the same objective!

High school accreditation is more a matter of standardizing the student than to assure he or she has met an agreed upon level. The proper collection of credits towards a high school diploma may indicate that the student spent a minimum 12 years to get it, but does it guarantee that anything was learned?

Are they all literate? No! Are they all numerate? No! Are they truly ready for post-secondary level positions? Maybe. Depends. Remember that in order for everyone to be able to get their diplomas, the level of expectation must continually be reduced. Where is fifty percent good enough in life outside of the “standard” expectation of the education industry?

God has created children to be different. Man insists on making them all the same. While it is good to expect excellence of the students, it is unreasonable to expect them to all reach the same level and to accomplish the same things.

The goal of home education should be educational progress with high and reasonable expectations while allowing students the freedom to be who God has created them to be. We should be seeking God’s approval rather than man’s accreditation in our secondary level education.

God makes no mistakes, and our faith in His abilities will eliminate the fear of not meeting standards and the need for human accreditation in education.

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