I am the daughter of teachers. I watched my Dad inspire his students year after year my entire life. I’ve met his former students, now grown, married with kids of their own and now teachers themselves. So, why am I unsure about sending my own child to public school?
Standardized Testing is NOT a Substitute for Standards (The Problem with Our Education System)
I want to be perfectly clear that this has absolutely nothing to do with the capability of the teachers. In my brief time as a teaching assistant, I had the pleasure of working with incredible educators. The kind that wake up and work much too early only to finish out their days working much too late. They sacrifice time with their own families so that they might help yours. These men & women have the most important job–they educate our children, and if anyone believes that this isn’t terribly important, they are lying to themselves or are very foolish. These educators are underpaid, but they strive to do their very best regardless. So, no, my concern in sending my child to public school has nothing to do with the teachers. In fact, they are the only reason I will probably send him anyway.
My objection to public school is that these awesome educators are having their hands tied by the local districts, the state, and the US government. Under no circumstances, should teachers feel pressured to teach toward a specific test. Whatever happened to teachers being allowed to have some creativity, some individuality? This is what made my Dad great at his job. He worked his students hard, they learned, but they also got to participate in fun & unique projects. My Dad was not cookie-cutter, and he was lucky enough to start teaching at a time when this was revered. By the end of his career, he was his own kind of teacher.
This is what I find so tragic–teachers are coming straight out of college and into the position while being told you will teach A, B, C, & D. When I say jump, you say how high–this is the kind of nonsense that makes my blood pressure rise. They’re terrified that if they don’t teach the ‘approved’ way they won’t have a job anymore. Remember what I said about teachers not getting paid enough? They need their jobs! They need to support their families, buy food, & payback student loans–just like everyone else! So how dare the government on any level act like such a bully!
Your children are the individuals losing out. Your children are receiving a standardized education when they could be receiving an extraordinary one. Your children do not need to be so prepared for a test that everything else that might not be on that test is neglected.
Give public school teachers back some ability to be one-of-a-kind. Let them teach your children in new and innovative ways. Dare to not care about a state standardized test. A standardized test does not measure your child’s knowledge, more their memory retention. It does not prove that they are smart, more that they test well. It does not, or rather should not, decide if they can progress onto the next grade, if they will go to college, or if they will ultimately be successful in life. There is so much more to learning than being well-prepared for a test. Stop selling our kids short! Help me feel confident in sending my child into public school. I want him to be exposed to the hardworking educators that put him above everything else.
Please fix our school systems. Please bring back standards and get rid of standardized tests.
Did you know that despite all these new regulations that American students still only rank 36th in the world in math, reading, and science? So, what leads you to believe that this is working? Take a moment and try to think of 36 countries. If you can, thank a teacher. Or closer to home, try to name all 50 states. Can you? I remember taking my states and capitals test in the 5th grade, but while I memorized the answers for the test, I can’t say I truly learned them. Now, yes, if I needed to list all the states & capitals, I probably could, but not in a timely manner and probably not without assistance.
Or try this on for size, a tool–the calculator– used to be a way to enhance or verify an answer. Now, it is used to think for your child. What’s forty-six minus twenty-two? I can do this in my head. I didn’t reach for my phone to calculate, but I’m guessing not everyone can. I know an area that I fall short is with percentages. For instance, I’m grateful when there is a list of percentages for a tip on a receipt at a restaurant. Since this realization, I’ve worked hard to improve in that area. Unfortunately, that drive I have to continue learning, even as an adult, is not instilled in our children today. They will just reach for a calculator instead.
All I’m saying is, somethings got to change. I want my child to be as well-rounded and educated as possible. I do not think being number 36th is something to brag about.