Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook 1 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 1 (2 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   20 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

No Child's Behind Left, Part 2

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 4 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Well Said 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 6/6/13

Become a Fan
  (48 fans)

rfkids by Royalty free stock photos

An alternative title for Part 2 of this article might be "Evaluating Without Testing: Caring for Children's Minds."  In Part 1, I tried to demonstrate that the core of the so-called No Child Left Behind Act is a fool's errand, based on testing all manner of things that don't matter to the human mind and spirit. I now offer the classroom teacher and concerned citizens something beyond mindless tests and meaningless numbers for evaluating children. It might even be argued that that one is not a qualified teacher if he or she fails to practice much of what is said here. I'm not trying to boast, but to show the classroom through the eyes of a teacher who took his job seriously, namely myself. Kindly allow the ideas to speak for themselves, and resonate if they will.

"I don't see how a teacher can know what's going on without regular testing," my principal confided in me. This was years ago, and we had just attended a meeting on adopting a new testing program for our elementary school. I deftly changed the subject, so I wouldn't have to express my opinion. After all I'd only been in the school six months, and it didn't seem like a bright idea to make waves in unfamiliar water.

But my principal's words burned in my head that evening. I argued with myself that he needed to hear the view of a classroom teacher on this (I had taught for several years in other schools). I concluded that the principal seemed open-minded and progressive enough to handle it, since he hired me, after all, and I felt I had bared my soul in our interviews.

Next morning I handed him some stapled pages with an oral warning: "I suspect you'll disagree, but I honestly don't think regular testing is a good idea. The first part of this tells why, and the second part gives some alternatives. I'd like to get your reaction after you've had a chance to read it over."

Side one read as follows (I amended the list and clarified certain points for this article).

Why Routine Testing is a deterrent to good teaching:

-           Time spent testing is time directly subtracted from the teaching process. If you test for two hours a week, that's eighty hours a school year (two hours times forty weeks), or twenty days of prime instructional time (allowing four hours a day as prime teaching time).

-           Time spent grading is time subtracted from curriculum planning. A teacher has limited time and should devote out of class time to devising strategies to make learning interesting.

-           Testing rarely alters what is practiced in the classroom, in spite of theoretical claims to the contrary.

-           Any teacher who has their finger "on the classroom pulse' knows what's working and what isn't.

-           There are no tests fine enough to measure much of the gradual progress, with its endless progressions and regressions, and brief and lengthy plateaus, especially in areas like handwriting, creative writing, and reading.

-           Testing often causes anxiety and mental inhibition. Understandably, since poor grades define those who are likely to become life-time losers. Incidentally, the lower half of the students in a class on any test are, by definition, "below average."

-           Poor grades can and do become self-fulfilling prophecies, by devastating the self-image at an early age. Perhaps this is related to a statement made by the late Buckminister Fuller. He pointed out, seriously, that "Everyone is born a genius, but some are de-genuised a little sooner than others."

-           Kids who you'd like to be most influenced by tests, especially in the lower grades, are almost always the ones to whom a test means little or nothing--and their bad habits, attitudes and self-image are reinforced each time they take a test.

-           We are not grading eggs, which come in three sizes. Humans are infinitely faceted and do care which box they go into. One year, the highlight of my career, I was number one in my college class (through a surge of overachievement that I can no longer explain). It swelled my head nicely, but even then I wondered if it wasn't a steep price to pay for the 400 plus students who had someone ahead of them. And what did this do to the guy at the bottom, whom I happened to know? Is intellectual fascism any less worse than sexism or apartheid?

-           Record keeping is a secretarial skill that ought to be required only in moderate doses by people trained to be teachers (let us leave that topic for another day).

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4

 

http://www.hyperblimp.com

In my run for U.S. Senate against Utah's Orrin Hatch, I posted many progressive ideas and principles that I internalized over the years. I'm leaving that site up indefinitely, since it describes what I believe most members of our species truly want: (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

Go To Commenting
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Why have kids?

The Foundation of Religion Fractured, shaky, and exposed

Living on Sunshine, Underground & Off the Grid.

Rocky Anderson: "Not a Snowball's Chance in Hell!"

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 20 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

How to evaluate learning without testing.... by Daniel Geery on Thursday, Jun 6, 2013 at 12:05:38 PM
click here... by Daniel Geery on Thursday, Jun 6, 2013 at 12:07:25 PM
It was just the author himself! Sir,  Wo... by Ad Du on Thursday, Jun 6, 2013 at 2:37:18 PM
 Then, there was one team in the first "line ... by Ad Du on Thursday, Jun 6, 2013 at 2:43:23 PM
 Now (and) here, who would like to learn an... by Ad Du on Thursday, Jun 6, 2013 at 2:48:42 PM
comment to you below.... by Daniel Geery on Friday, Jun 7, 2013 at 12:38:12 PM
One of the problems with modern schools and teache... by Bill Johnson on Friday, Jun 7, 2013 at 10:06:06 AM
In 1957 Russia launched Sputnik. This rocked the f... by Bill Johnson on Friday, Jun 7, 2013 at 10:21:17 AM
meant for Ad Du. As for the military, I think... by Daniel Geery on Friday, Jun 7, 2013 at 12:37:36 PM
paragraph by paragraph: Homework is critical as ... by Daniel Geery on Friday, Jun 7, 2013 at 12:28:08 PM
But hopefully of some value to other readers. ... by Daniel Geery on Friday, Jun 7, 2013 at 12:28:59 PM
 Sir,   The buffoon I was tell... by Ad Du on Friday, Jun 7, 2013 at 7:02:45 PM
 With all regret, Mr. Johnson clearly doesn't... by Ad Du on Friday, Jun 7, 2013 at 7:06:38 PM
this way and have any credibility. I know or have ... by Daniel Geery on Friday, Jun 7, 2013 at 7:26:14 PM
perhaps because they were meant to be delicate. I ... by Ad Du on Saturday, Jun 8, 2013 at 8:48:52 AM
 As another sign of loss of credibility, one ... by Ad Du on Saturday, Jun 8, 2013 at 8:52:00 AM
Here is a sample of the Project Talent reports- an... by Bill Johnson on Friday, Jun 7, 2013 at 10:41:21 AM
since 2004, there can be no doubt that No Child Le... by Daniel Geery on Friday, Jun 7, 2013 at 11:47:58 AM
 Sir,   I have read your posts... by Ad Du on Saturday, Jun 8, 2013 at 10:02:19 AM
 Mr. Johnson doesn't seem to acknowledge that... by Ad Du on Saturday, Jun 8, 2013 at 10:05:48 AM