Thursday, November 1, 2007

No Child Left Behind

A teacher in Madison is protesting the No Child Left Behind standardized testing by refusing to administer the test. Kudos to him! He is being threatened with dismissal although it sounds as though the superintendent is not handling the situation properly. It is state law, beholden to federal law, that these tests be administered. What a crock. I detest standardized testing when the results are used as a threat.

As a high school teacher once asked, "What if a child wants to be left behind." Anyone not familiar with the delights of adolescent mood swings and other idiosyncrasies that strike this age group would not understand that enticing/motivating/bribing this age group is often an effort in futility. What about the elementary student who didn't get breakfast that morning or whose parents had a knock down drag out fight at 2 a.m. How well does a middle school child test the day after being told his parents are divorcing or that her father just lost his job? One or two days of testing to judge a child's academic placement.

Be my guest, Mr. Bush and Mr. Kennedy....try making a student learn. Education is supposedly being enhanced because of bill pushed down public schools' throats (ah, gee, private schools don't hold to this same standard) by a President who cannot speak in compound sentences? By a President who mangles the language at every opportunity?

Whatever the outcome for the Madison teacher, I applaud his stance. As a school board member and former educator, I did not allow my daughter to take the 10th grade standardized tests the first year given in Wisconsin. I caught some flack from a few educators which I thought hypocritical....they hate standardized tests, also, but lacked the balls to pull their children from the testing.

Standardized testing and mandated learning from the federal government is a shabby attempt to put a bandaid on the gaping wounds in education. Easier to pass this type of legislation than find true solutions to the problems.

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