Monday, November 17, 2014

Let the "Reformers" Re-Form Themselves

The facts and formulas we instill in kids are secondary in importance to the manifold other purposes of public education.  We need individuals who can think outside a test bubble.  This has traditionally defined our greatness.

When it comes right down to it, most of us probably remember only a small fraction of what we learned in school.  Yet, we succeed in life because we are able to think creatively and confront positively the problems that appear in life.  These are the problems that you will never find on a test.

I judge my education a success because I gained a love for learning which propels me past the confines of my college and graduate-school years.  I do not deed my learning over to classrooms or workshops for PD credit.  I motivate myself to learn and my students and children further motivate me to self-educate.

In school and at home, I gained confidence in my ability to address new problems.  If the Common Core had repeatedly smacked me down and branded me as a failure, I might have started off with the supposition that I cannot do it.  It might have caused irreversible harm.  How many children are suffering harm today?

We need something more than good test takers.  We need good citizens.  We need emotionally and intellectually healthy people as threads in the fabric of our society.  We don't need beaten-down masses labeled as failures by a test-crazed, self-appointed set of reformers.  We need individuals inspired to achieve their very best.  We need to teach the principles that encourage kids to love learning--and it may not be the same principles for all kids.

We don't need a "common core" to kill individual initiative in the name of standardization.  Greatness is rarely, if ever, achieved in any nation when it becomes set in its ways.  And, we certainly don't need Common-Core testamania to promote incessant prep and then punish students and their teachers.  Maybe what the ed. "reformers" really need to do is re-form their own thinking.
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