Not long ago, I got into a serious discussion with an acquaintance that wants to make sure our schools in the US are in order. Indeed, everyone realizes this is a sticky point in American politics today, and has been for several decades. We got onto the sub-topic of standardized testing, another heavy topic which has had school boards in an uproar with angry parents, upset teachers, and administrators explaining that these are mandates, non-negotiable, and not much they can do about it.
Okay so, on the Education Front – let me explain where I am coming from. First, understand that I am not opposed to standardized testing in theory and felt the intent was certainly there with regards to No Child Left Behind, which was just taking the standardized testing to a higher level and asking for legitimate proof kids were learning to read and write, which they were not, as we know. You see, I don’t have an issue with the standardized testing per se, and I think Laura Bush is going to be speaking in our Valley soon on the issue.
My only real concern is how standardized tests are being used in practice as we have teachers and school districts teaching to the tests. I wonder are we testing the kids or are we testing the teachers to prove our school system works, when it clearly is not working all that well? At some point we have to agree that we need a measuring stick, proper assessment, accountability, and kids that can actually read, write, and use simple math. Minimum they need to be able to figure interest, balance a check book, and know enough about economics to be good voters and citizens.
We all know that without good education, our civilization is doomed in 20+ years, as who on earth is going to be running all this stuff in our society? It’s not going to run itself, and we are only as strong, any nation is only as strong as its education system was 20-years the prior. If we fail at our schools, we won’t have much of a country in the future. So, what’s the answer you ask? Well, perhaps as my acquaintance suggests we are asking too much of the school system, when education starts at home.
If the parents do not value education, they are less-likely to make it mandatory that their kids work hard in school. If these kids come to school misbehaved, uninterested, or too busy texting, playing video games, or day-dreaming – it really doesn’t matter what mandates we place on our schools – it’s not going to work. Please consider all this.