Friday, August 17, 2012

This Is School, and There Will Be No Enjoyment

It's incredible to read that even 4-year-olds are now taking tests, due to the brilliance of common core. No more of this play nonsense, no more discovery, and no more fun for children. Unless, of course, they go to schools like Sidwell Friends, where the president's kids, and the VP's grandchildren go. For the rest of us, it's get ready for a life of sheer drudgery as a Walmart associate, and no wonder the Walmart folks put their big bucks behind this.

My daughter took four days of standardized tests called the Terra Nova when she was in kindergarten. Granted, she was five rather than four, but I was very surprised by it. When I got the results, I was even more surprised. My daughter, who certainly did not know how to read, was deemed excellent in reading. However, she had no English language skills whatsoever. Now I'm not a testing expert, having never actually run a hedge fund, but to my limited understanding reading is an English language skill, and a rather vital one.

I went to the school and spoke with the teacher, who told me these results were typical of the class. Apparently, the reading skills test had been given the first day, when the kids were focused. The English skills test was given on the last, when the kids were well beyond their comfort level. The teacher clearly had as much regard for the test as I did, and had no choice but to administer it.

Of course kids at that age should be pushing trucks on the floor, blowing bubbles in their milk, and out playing with their friends. But in this test-oriented society, as we fervently try to erase the twentieth century in our drive to bring back feudalism, that's unlikely to occur.

But it's nice to see pieces like this one by Tim Clifford featured in Schoolbook. Apparently there are people paying attention, wanting to add real value and engagement to education. The more of us who push back against the rantings of corporate-backed garbage designed to reduce our children to automatons, the more likely we are to capture the limited attention of a country more focused on American Idol than the education of its children

These are the interesting times of the apocryphal Chinese curse, but there are those of us who are standing up, and what we lack in money, we have in numbers. Parents, teachers and students have a common cause, and that is what's good enough for Obama's children and Biden's grandchildren--reasonable class sizes, worthwhile instruction, focus on education rather than test and punish nonsense--is good enough for our children and grandchildren too.
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