Thursday, September 13, 2012

If Testing is So Great for Kids...

Imagine a situation in which you have the option to send your child to two schools.  Here are the two schools' mission statements:

School #1 - Our goal is to ensure each student in our school learns the standards that have been developed by our legislators, so we test them at every opportunity to measure their progress.  In order to prevent students from failing to meet these standards we eliminate music, art, physical education, and any other non-tested subject for students who don't test well in order to give them additional instruction on test preparation.  

School #2 - To meet the needs of an ever changing society and develop each student's natural potential, we strive to foster the unique talents of each individual through a comprehensive program of academic, cultural, and physical development.  Our collective goal is to develop life-long learners who can work cooperatively and collaboratively, respect and value the uniqueness of others, and think critically to meet the challenges they will face in their lives.

In which school would you enroll your child?  In which school would your child be more engaged?  Which would be more likely to provide an environment in which learning thrives?  Which would prepare them for their future better?  

Then why are we spending so much time and money trying to force our public schools to be more like school #1?  

If testing is so great for kids, why aren't the expensive private schools that legislators and CEOs send their kids to demanding more testing and changing their mission statements to be more like school #1 above?

Maybe it's because the standardized testing movement has nothing to do with what's best for kids.

1 comment:

  1. Nail head, meet the hammer.

    It doesn't have anything to do with what's best for kids. It has to do with money, like everything else.

    Schools are the biggest portion of any state budget. Investors (taxpayers) want to see the results. Legislators are too far removed from education, most of them having only experienced the model of learning we are now trying to move away from that was built for the industrial age. To them, that is how school is "done", and that is how it should always be. After all, it was good enough for them so why change it?

    Here is why: because research from the last 10-20 years has told us over and over in many different ways that we're doing it wrong. Or, at least, that we could be doing it better.

    Also, because schools are not businesses and doing things in school based on a business model will only result in the same failures that businesses face every day. How many upstart businesses fail before they even a year old? Failing on our kids is not an option.

    As long as the money for education is being handed out by those who don't understand what it means to teach and learn (in the inspiring to love learning sort of way, not the drill and kill, sit down and shut up and take your Ritilin so you can listen to me drone on all day kind of way), things aren't going to get much better. Unions will be demolished, teachers will be treated like second class citizens, and kids will be the ones hurt by a crumbling system.