"We get our fair share of magical thinking in the standards movement, such as the goal that every student in the country would be at the proficient level in reading and math by 2014, even though only about a third of the U.S. students were at that level when No Child Left Behind law was enacted. Proponents tried to make this unrealistic goal sound common-sensical--shouldn't all kids read at grade level?--when in fact we had never been even close to having this level as the norm, let alone the universal requirement. Those of us who questioned the realism of this standard must surely have appeared as pessimists, spoilsports, or defeatists."
"As any decent weight-reduction counselor knows, few things can be more damaging than unrealistic goals. They set us up for failure."