|FOR THE LOVE OF READING|
I just watched John Oliver’s report on standardized testing in America.
(Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6lyURyVz7k&app=desktop)
I couldn’t stop. It isn’t that I don’t know that testing is destroying the fabric of our schools: it’s just that I sometimes pretend it isn’t true. Couldn’t be true. Some of the things he shared are just too ridiculous to be true.
I think sometimes that the decision-makers in this country don’t ever really think about actual children when they make decisions. They must just put them right out of their heads. For how could someone think of a child, a wonderfully-made child, and determine that each one must perform to a certain degree on one kind of standardized test?
Children come to us in many ways. And they are a gift. From the tops of their heads to the bottom of their toes, a gift full of promise. Children are thoughtful from the very earliest age. They wonder about us and about their world. They listen and copy and think and learn. They were made to do those things. To be creative and create. To be inquisitive and ask. From the earliest age their brains are learning and creating and asking. They are learning to be like the people around them. It can be a process of discovery and joy.
We watch them grow and we exclaim over every step, every thought, every question. We exclaim because it seems to happen so naturally and so wonderfully. We exclaim because it seems almost as though we did nothing to foster this amazing growth. This amazing child.
But children learn from watching and mimicking. Their brains look for patterns and they learn from those patterns. They learn language by listening and copying and inferring. They learn everything in that same way. From watching, being immersed, and mimicking those around them because their brains were created to do so. And to do it with creativity and often innovation.
So, why in the world do any people think that standardized tests could ever measure the breadth and depth of a child’s ability and capacity to think?
And what kind of models are we providing in schools that feed each child’s amazing capacity to learn as they mimic the behavior and thinking of others?
What are children really learning as they work through a school year filled with tests?
Why in the world.
I am sometimes saddened by the state of education in this bountiful country today.
I am saddened that there has been a tremendous loss of the belief in one thing:
That children are wonderfully made, my friends. They are all (every. single. one.) capable of the kind of learning and thinking that could transform the whole wide world. Our great leaders have decided to measure this with tests that only measure one kind of thinking. One kind of learning. With no creativity of thought. Without considering the wonder and miracle of a young mind. There needs to be a change.
So be sad with me.
But just for one minute.
Then think about how you can impact this culture of testing to make a change.
Is it one email? One call? A conversation? A prayer?
We have to rise up and reclaim education for our wonderfully-made children.
As parents, as educators, we can do this. Together. To reclaim the joy.
I have been lucky enough to have wonderful life experiences in the world of literacy education. I love to learn and talk about learning. Join me. Let's learn together.