By Joanne Yatvin
"Now, more than ever, “rigor” is being used to promote the idea that American students need advanced course work, complex texts, stricter grading, and longer school days and years in order to be ready for college or the workplace. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) already adopted by 45 states, were designed for rigor and will inexorably lead to it in all forms in almost all classrooms.
"How much better our schools would be if they provided students with classes and activities throbbing with energy, growth and life. Although school buildings have walls, there should be no walls separating students from vigorous learning. No ceilings, either.
"To learn vigorously, students need more than academic skills and knowledge, more than the generalities and hypotheticals found in textbooks and workbooks. By reading newspapers, magazines, graphic novels, even the daily comics and Internet articles; and by getting to know people of all ages, types of work, and cultural backgrounds they can learn about the real world they live in. Although it is not practical to send hordes of children and teen-agers out into that world to learn all the things they need to know, many more in-school classes and supplemental activities can be vigorous."