I don’t even know who to talk to about this. It seems that on the local level, everyone is in the same storm-tossed, leaky boat. The government has decided that rather than let teachers teach, their entire job is test-prep. Instead of encouraging students to learn about obviously non-important things like history, classic literature, everyday useful math, and the science of how the world works, students are required to learn to take tests. Those making these requirements seem not to care about whether children are learning and thriving, but only whether they fill in the right bubbles on their tests.
From a parent’s perspective, I would love to be able to thank those who are setting these standards, for adding so much to my family’s life – so much stress, and pressure, and worry, and tension. I have an 8 year old daughter who worries ALL THE TIME because she doesn’t feel like she can keep up. And she’s a smart kid. She’s a slow, methodical worker, but she’s smart. She has mentioned the upcoming Writing Assessment no less than 3 times in the past 16 hours – outside of school – because she dreads it so much. She’s 8, so, news flash to the powers that be, she is NOT an expert typist. She told me that for a little while they were learning keyboarding in computer class and it was starting to click, but now they’re only preparing for the Writing Assessment…the Writing Assessment in which they will be required to TYPE an essay. They aren’t PREPARED if they don’t know how to type. They will be required to read some convoluted prompt and then write a TIMED essay about it, being sure to cover all the jumbled up points that some person sitting in an office completely outside the walls of the school decided they should cover?
And THIS is going to give the state an accurate picture of what these children are learning?
The most eloquent response I can come up with to that is: BULL.
I feel for the teachers. My daughter’s teacher is trying to teach her kids multiplication and division, which is challenging in itself, but what she has to concentrate on the most, is preparing them for filling in bubbles.
Whatever it is that the powers that be have in mind, whatever their purpose is in all of this, let me tell you the results that I’m seeing come out of it:
-I see teachers who are more than competent, becoming frustrated and doubting their own abilities.
-I see children who are frustrated and lacking the confidence that should be being built up during this crucial time in their lives.
-I see administration that is to the point of having an attitude that says, “Let’s just get this over with,” rather than, “Let’s have a great year with these kids.”
-I see parents saying, “I don’t know how to help you with this, because the way they are teaching you makes no sense to me.” And when those parents try to help, the kids take the work back to school and are told it’s wrong. (Which undermines parents.)
-At my house, I see tears each evening while we do homework, and dread each morning before school. I see my own kid, who loves science and reading, learning to hate school. That’s what she’s learning.
This is NOT her teacher’s fault. In 4 years of school, she has had absolutely stellar teachers – smart, talented, dedicated, well-prepared men and women who care about her, love her, and do all they can to help her, along with every other kid in their classes.
Hating school. That’s going to be so helpful for the next 9 years. So thanks to those powers that be who feel this is the best way to prepare our kids for the future – by placing ridiculous expectations on them, taking away the joy of learning, and placing upon them the pressure of a grown up world. Pressure that should never be placed on these little shoulders.
Yes, thanks so much for that.
Here’s some more information on the upcoming Writing Assessment –