…just the thought of standardized test make me get this face…
…just the thought of them. I knew they were pointless when I was doing them in 5th grade and up. And the idea of HIGH STAKES TESTING hadn’t completely taken off, as well as we were years before NCLB would rape our society.
Don’t even get me started on NCLB, or No Child Left Behind as it’s formally known. Now, much like so many other plans passed by the government, it’s fabulous in theory. Of course, no child should be left behind in their education. However, in actual practice, the ball was fumbled all the way into a proverbial pit of hell.
And where does that leave us? Rather than expanding and broadening the academic endeavors and availability of information to our students, we narrow it down, cutting, slashing, and gouging the very soul out of learning and all that it possibly could be…..for THE TEST.
It’s like a monolith. THE TEST is like the honey badger on crack! THE TEST don’t care about what’s best for the children, it just wants to know about the bare essentials. But does the test ever discuss the virtues of music in schools, or art, or the magic of a shakespeare sonnet, or the sadness of the Civil War as it tore a young nation to the brink of it’s existence? No! It wants to know if you know where the comma goes. Sure, the comma can be the all giving lifesaver on occasion, but there is so much more to the world, to education, to learning. Does THE TEST know that? It doesn’t appear so….THE TEST don’t care!
This is what the profession I love has come to. I often entertain the thought that some politician will come to their senses, and lead a charge that will take us away from the follies of NCLB, to some utopia of thought where we realize that only by expanding, not shrinking, America’s schools, their curriculums, and the services they provide will we pull ourselves out of this educational (dare I say societal?) slump that we find ourselves in.
I recently heard a gentleman comment that the moment we fell from the pinnacle of organized education in the world was when we stopped teaching character over academic achievement. Someone who has desire, drive, and the character to want to do something with their life….oh, I can teach that person anything. But without character?
And so for 4 days, we walk around like we’re workers in a Center for Disease Control. THE TEST has to be carefully monitored. Don’t touch THE TEST. Don’t look at THE TEST (It might infect you from a distance). Every protocol is followed, every security measure put into place to make sure that THE TEST will never escape the testing center, until it’s packaged and properly prepared for shipment.