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A concerned member of the human race

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Are You a Walking, Talking Test Score?

As a working mom, I realize how much time is lost with my children.  Since I need to work to help pay the bills to provide for my children, I am just as pleased that I am able to do so by trying to help other people's children.  Moreover, I stare in wonderment at my teenage students, knowing my own children will be there someday.  And I store the information I process as potentially helpful to me down the road.  I like those teenagers.  I see a lot of good in them and when I participate in Bring-Your-Kid-To-Work Day, I generally see the best in them.

One of my greatest objections to the Core and its test-bound curriculum is that it eats at the heart of the nonacademic, and probably ultimately more meaningful, purposes of education.  The current trend of educational reform would have us believe that the sum of a human being is a test average.  If so much of this is pressed upon students in school, there is little room left for working parents to try to counter the damage.  

Children are so much more than test scores.  My first year back from a childcare leave, I taught economics to seniors.  I had a couple students who were borderline failing if measured merely by test scores.  These same students, however, were so incredibly socially adept with "people skills" and networks of friendships built up around the community, largely through things like sports and music, that I could immediately see these kids would succeed in life.  These students might not study the most or show the greatest interest in some subjects, but these kids would blow away high-scoring, less socially adept students on the job market.

As a working mom, it is very important to me that schools help little children develop socially and emotionally healthy young lives.  I want schools to build community and integrate little people into it through play, sports, music, all that good stuff that is not tested, and for that reason, too easily succumbs to test prep.  Ultimately this good stuff measures far better, in my mind, the caliber of an individual than a battery of common-core aligned test scores.  

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