My 7-year-old came home excited from school the other day. Apparently during standardized testing, her school is going to allow the kids to chew gum. Great. My kid is being bribed to take yet another test. Way to keep it classy, local elementary school! It's no wonder a mom in Pennsylvania behind a movement to pull your kids out of standardized testing is getting so many followers.
Did you even know you could yank your kid out of these tests?
You can ... at least in some states ... and when Kathy Newman found out Pennsylvania gives parents the chance to opt their kid out of the state's accountability tests, she didn't give the bureaucrats a chance to change their minds. She pulled her 9-year-old son out faster than you can say "multiple choice."
The way Newman told it, her son was bringing home dry non-fiction passages meant to prepare him for the state tests. What it was doing was sucking all the fun out of reading for her son.
It was destroying a love of learning. And she'd had enough.
Frankly, I have too. My daughter is 7. She is an excellent reader and a quick study. But tests stress her out. She told me last night that when she took her last "fluency" exam (a measure of how fluent kids are with their subtraction and addition facts), her hands were shaking.
That's over a dinky little math test that her teacher really needs to give to assess where the students are in terms of math skills.
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Now they want me to add the stress of some standardized tests that really do nothing for her? That won't affect whether she advances to the next grade? That teach her diddly squat?
The No Child Left Behind act -- or as I tend to call it, the No Child Left Untested act -- has turned us into a nation that focuses on preparing kids for these tests, but at what cost?
Kids are being stressed out. Worse, they're being taught that they need to learn things not to slake the thirst for knowledge, but because "it might be on the test."
That's not what I want for my kid. I want her to want to learn because she's curious about the world around her. That's how you create a life-long learner. Not by bribing her with gum so she'll color in little gray circles for an hour.
I'm considering joining Kathy Newman's team myself ... how about you?
Would you opt your kids out of standardized testing? Can you?
Image via albertogp123/Flickr