Education reformers prize “rigor.” They think that education must be more “rigorous.” The word “rigor” is one of their favorites.
Is this the missing ingredient in education today?
But what do we mean by “rigor”?
A reader offers dictionary definitions of rigor:
From the Oxford English Dictionary:
Definition of rigor
a sudden feeling of cold with shivering accompanied by a rise in temperature, often with copious sweating, especially at the onset or height of a fever.
short for rigor mortis.
Definition of RIGOR
a (1) : harsh inflexibility in opinion, temper, or judgment : severity (2) : the quality of being unyielding or inflexible : strictness (3) : severity of life : austerity
b : an act or instance of strictness, severity, or cruelty
: a tremor caused by a chill
: a condition that makes life difficult, challenging, or uncomfortable; especially : extremity of cold
: strict precision : exactness
a obsolete : rigidity, stiffness
b : rigidness or torpor of organs or tissue that prevents response to stimuli
c : rigor mortis
I think that the deformers shot themselves in the foot when they chose “rigor” as their clarion call. It is an inappropriate term and has no place in education. What they are doing to schools, teachers, and students does, however, fit the actual definition to a “T”.
From PreK to college we are introducing “rigor” into the learning process at our peril. Of course it is just another buzzword in eduspeak used to justify people who know nothing imposing programs that do nothing on those who are allowed to say and do nothing about it.