Thursday, December 8, 2011

On What Standard?

Here's my Tuesday morning rant. Standardization. Do we really want this?

I'm talking about standardized testing en masse....where kindergarteners are now taking more tests in a given week to measure where they are than they are being taught to get them to where they should be. The testing industry runs schools and administrators, fearing public pressures (and private), are mandating more and more assessments during school so they can gage where the scores will be when the actual test arrives.

This is where I laugh. I am picturing Lucy (I LOVE LUCY) trying to keep up with the conveyor belt. It doesn't work. Human beings are not replicable in a machine and I call on Bart Simpson here to prove this. If all we do is test, then we don't create minds like Gary Larson, Bill Watterson, Judy Tenuta - or do we? Personally, I think the majority of students (and their teachers) see testing as STUPID, yet do it in the name of conformity. It is endured because that is way the system is policed.

Yet, beyond such drill, creativity and innovation exist. You have to have a Trey Parker and Matt Stone sense of humor to survive the schooling machine because it is absolutely ridiculous.

My career aptitude tests predicted me to be #1 - a doctor, #2 - a priest, and #3 - a farmer. I wanted to be Oprah Winfrey, however, and became a teacher. In my mind, that role encompasses all three, but these tests don't give space for writers to explicate why. It's not neat, tidy, or easy to replicate.

The more I interact with students and teachers, the more I see their desire to rebuild the schooling systems. Teachers want to teach, students want to learn, but the system completely shuts down either from happening.

Here, I suppose, I align with postmdodernists of late's an ugly truth. Everything is a percentage of a global market and viewed in relation to how the rich can get richer. Yuck. I just want to be happy and to help others find happiness. How foolish to think money does that (he writes, not knowing whether or not it actually does).

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