As I mentioned in a previous post, I believe that testing is destroying the very nature of public education. While in my previous post I noted standardized testing, other tests, quizzes, test review, and the use of study guides is creating an education of assessment and not an education of ideas. Each year, less and less new information is offered to students. In fact, school are basically the same as they ever have been, but with less new content.
In addition, many of the changes and mandates in our educational system don’t make sense. We are asking students that are younger and younger to do things they are not ready to do. We want them to read younger. We want them to do more advanced math at a younger age. Things that used to be the norm for the 5th grade are now done in 2nd grade. And what suffers? The children.
To make sure everyone is reading younger, doing more advanced math, and ‘being on grade level’ we have cut art programs, music programs, and recess. What happened to the days when kindergarten was about learning to get along? Socialization? Now the day is pack with 70 minutes blocks of reading instruction. Stations with math manipulatives.
Don’t get me wrong. These things are important. But at the expense of art? Coloring? Clay? Music? Dance? Recess? Physical Education?
If we want future generations to be critical and creative thinkers, we must not just focus on academics. We must focus on the mind and body. Knowledge and culture. Math and Music. Academics and art.
With the exception of a year, I have been a teacher or a student for my entire life. I have taught on many different levels. I have been a middle school teacher (okay, for one semester for student teaching...because of this, I have a profound respect for middle school teachers), high school, undergraduates and graduate students. I have coached soccer in youth leagues and high school. Education is in my blood.