I wonder how many of you would watch the high jump in the Summer Olympics every four years if they had decided to never raise the bar. Something tells me we’d laugh if we went to Rio in 2016 and the high jumpers were jumping over the original record height of 1.81 meters from the first modern Olympics in 1896. That’s less than 6 feet! Do you think Ellery Clark’s competitors saw that number and thought “1.81 meters. I can do that too.”
NO! Olympians think “I can do better than that! I WILL do better than that.” And then they train. They spend the next four years of their life training and dedicating their life to improving and strengthening their skill. They want to set the next record. They want their name in the record books. Four years after the first Olympic games, Irving Baxter jumped to a new height of 1.90 meters, setting a higher goal for all future athletes.
Our country has agreed that from ages 5-18, students will spend those years training and dedicating their life to their basic education, becoming productive members of society, building a foundation that will carry them through the rest of their lives.
Something tells me just as a 2016 Olympian jumping over 1.81 meter high bar would look foolish, students preparing for their lives in the 21st century with the same goals as students in the 20th century looks pretty foolish too.
Realizing the challenges facing our country from our international competitors, 45 states have decided it’s time to raise the educational bar. This has come in the form of a new set of academic standards—the goals of what students should learn for each grade level. Common Core State Standards are a state-led effort to establish clear, world-class educational standards for English language arts and mathematics that states can voluntarily adopt. And 45 states have decided they want the generations coming after us to learn more. To go farther. To achieve more. To break new records.
Every Summer Olympics since 1896, Olympians have been making the case that if you raise the bar, they’ll not only reach it—they’ll exceed it. The new record for the high jump is 2.39 meters (7 feet, 10 inches!). This is what makes the Olympics great. We see new records set. We see greatness. We see training how has paid off. And we’re inspired to achieve more.
Over the last 100 years, not only has the bar been raised, but how they go over the bar has changed as well. They’ve used techniques such as the scissors, the straddle, and now it’s the Fosbury Flop. They continue to change the technique as they find new ways to reach higher heights.
In classrooms across our country, students are no longer expected to jump higher. Therefore, they don’t. It’s time we do something about it. It’s time to set some new records. It’s time to raise the bar.