Teachers . . . faced with 150 or more students daily had compromised their standards not out of malice but out of necessity.
I think this relates directly to much of what we've been talking about. We feel we don't have the time to teach the way we think (know?) is best. Whether it's the discussion about multiple choice tests, or about "covering" less and teaching fewer topics more in-depth, it often ends up being a discussion about time. How do we possibly teach constructivistly, how do we fully engage students and explore topics in-depth, how do we provide meaningful feedback to each student on each assignment - when we have so many students and so little time?
I see three obvious options. One, do nothing. Teach like we always have. If it was good enough 10 (50? 80?) years ago, it's good enough now. Two, do our best to make as many changes as we think are possible within the existing system, do the best possible teaching we can do with the restraints we have - and possibly change the system in small ways where we can. Or three, change the system to allow us to meet the needs of students to the best of our ability and teach the best way we know how.
I'd be curious to know which option you would choose? (In case I'm not being obvious enough, this is a plea for comments 21C folks - and anyone else for that matter.)