Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Bottom Line

Though I've been accused otherwise, I'm not anti-test. Really, you need demonstrable evidence that kids are doing well (or poorly) in your classes, and grades are something it's hard to argue with. But is testing the be-all and end-all? I don't think so.

Unfortunately, when your principal's merit pay is on the line, everything else goes out the window.

"The kids can't tell you who the president was during the Civil War," she said. "But they can tell you how to eliminate answers on a multiple-choice test. And as long as our test scores are up, everyone will be happy.

"That's education?"

The teacher, who requested anonymity, said she was ordered by her principal to "forget about everything except test prep" over the four weeks prior to this month's statewide English tests.

"All anyone cares about now are test scores," she lamented.

It's useful for kids to be able to eliminate incorrect multiple choice answers. It shows resourcefulness and cleverness, too. But I really believe in the saying "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it." Test scores are important. No doubt about it. I want my kid to do well on tests, and I'll help her any way I can.

But that's not all there is. I'd like her to know there's history, and music, and art, and that she can be part of all these things. Do you want that for your kids too, or am I some wild-eyed extreme-liberal hippie pinko lunatic?

Thanks to Schoolgal
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