There is no virtue in making children so brave that they might withstand the idiocy of adults.
If schools think education is all about testing …. they’ve already forfeited their privilege to enjoy your child.
This testing madness has the tell-tale symptoms of a sick obsession … a creepy neurosis that screams of unhealthy. And now … now this testing takes many forms … and it’s part of nearly Every. Single. School. Day.
Competency based education is here … and that means almost daily testing experiences for your children … and there’s no escaping it.
Pressure is a fact of life … and so are tests and assessments. But now the pressure to perform is border-line child abuse. Too many youngsters … and their families … are paying a disturbing price for this unhealthy obsession.
And it’s all happening at younger and younger moments … in some instances, we’re talking about children less than a hundred months old.
Instead of marking exciting, new inches on door jambs, some egghead-theoreticians have determined that growth has but one measure … and that’s by tests.
Overly serious, overly consequential, overly emphasized tests. How come?
These schools are populated by brand new people who are just as easily measured by months as they can be measured by years. All sprouting at different speeds … and acquiring all sorts of skills and talents in terribly uneven spurts because … because that’s how Mother Nature does things.
More and more, we’re treating these little learners like programmable spud-people … GMOs … “genetically modified organisms” in lab-speak. And too many schools have become educational petri dishes. And the little ones … they’re the goo in the dish.
And the most exhausting and crushing experiments of all involve testing.
Testing, I guess, is supposed to produce a bumper-crop of genetically identical kid-sprouts … each identical when measured and charted and graphed.
Indistinguishable from one another … creepy duplicates of one another.
And that, I suppose, will make everyone extra-happy … and the educrats will boast about the homogenized results.
And there will be algorithmic jubilation that the mystery of true scholarship has finally been unlocked.
Lawmakers will laurel themselves. Superintendents and principals will beat their chests. And classroom teachers will sigh of relief … and cease to agonize over their careers.
And the robotized, joyless crop of young learners will have met very important benchmarks and be prepared for … for what? More tests? More measures? Where does this take us?
Will we ever bother to discover the magic of these children? Who can dance? Or sing? Tell stories? Or run like the wind?
How about the guitar pluckers or the piano bangers? And the kid who’s mad about science? Or the child who’s the unafraid performer?
What of the pint-sized historian who whittles Roman swords of balsa wood … and knows more of Caesar than anyone else in the building?
Doesn’t any of that count?
It should. It should count lots.
Once upon a time, tests told teachers and parents how the sprout was sprouting … and what was needed to sprout some more. They weren’t used to punish or sanction or condemn. They were used to inform and direct and suggest.
When did did tests become the tape measures of success? The rudder of a child’s education? When did they become almighty?
Children don’t ripen on anyone’s schedule. They sprout at different speeds … the way Mother Nature intended. Some rush straight to ripe in no time at all. Others take their time.
But they all catch up … and stand side by side … and few remember the early sprouters or the tardy bloomers.
So why this great worry? Why all the upset
Why all this dread for itty-bitty people who’ve just mastered looping their own belts … and only recently cured themselves of putting their underpants on backwards?
And who thinks jittering teachers over this sort of nonsense makes them better at their craft? It doesn’t. It only tensions the atmosphere … and clouds learning with pointless anxiety.
Let the gardeners garden … and let the seedlings grow as they will. And remember … God never intended for all of them to be perfectly perfect at the same moment.
They’ll ripen well enough … in spite of the insistence of wacky theoreticians who believe that genius is found on the nib of a No. 2 pencil.