Creation or Standardization?

In the vast world that we live in with the fast paced everything how can our children learn to handle change? We want them to handle change and we strive to find ways to get it into their brains. But STOP! Really? This is the talk in many circles but when you get right down to the cold hard facts we don’t want people who can think outside of the box. Anyone read The Maze Runner, read it and see what happens when we allow little people to begin to think on their own.

At this writing there are no cold hard facts; these are my observations in the education world. And it’s not our administration or even our teaching staff. No it is the very government that is trying their best to put a hammer and nail to creation. Creation is not only the building of something, it is really allowing our students to think. Yes “BIG THINKERS” that is not a phase that you hear everyday.

Now for the reality of our lives and our times, Standard Testing for All! “Teach to the test damn it or be removed from the act of teaching!” WHAT? Our teachers teach as I one teacher describes it “I teach to see those little minds churning and really thinking about how to solve something.”  Now let’s hear from a teacher who has to teach for a test, “Yes I teach, it pays the bills and I get summers off, I would like to see the kids learning something new but there just is not enough time.”

Do you know where the and when the standard testing started and even why? Read this quote from Wikipedia.

 The use of standardized testing in the United States is a 20th-century phenomenon with its origins in World War I and the Army Alpha and Beta tests developed by Robert Yerkes and colleagues.[4]

In the United States, the need for the federal government to make meaningful comparisons across a highly de-centralized (locally controlled) public education system has also contributed to the debate about standardized testing, including the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 that required standardized testing in public schools. U.S. Public Law 107-110, known as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, further ties public school funding to standardized testing.

And so it began in 1965 and then to add injury to insult we had another president come along and make it worse in 2001!

This is a TOP DOWN issue. As I sit in conferences enjoying each session and digging into bringing tech into the classrooms. I have to wonder just how many of these GREAT teachers and administrators will be allowed to go back to their schools and roll it out?

And if your not in education then please call and write your congress men and women and tell them we need true education reform! And once again allow our children to create the NEXT BIG THING!


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One Response to Creation or Standardization?

  1. Brian Palmer says:

    There is room for both creativity and standardization provided there is a limit to the core content. Creativity requires time to think and reflect. When curriculum requires all the available time there is no space available for creativity.
    How much content is really necessary?
    people tend to equate teaching more with teaching better.
    The entire educational system needs to re-evaluate what is important. The term, ‘Education’ may need to be re-defined.
    My father defined education as “What you have left after you have forgotten all the facts you learned in school.”
    The reality is that the facts are only the medium to an education. they are not the education itself. Learning the facts are really teaching the learner to learn. However. the learning is often evaluated by determining whether the student has learned the facts.
    memorizing the melting point of ice is 0 C and the boiling point is 100 C is not nearly as important as knowing that each pure substance has a definite MP and BP and that these physical properties can be used as an aid in identifying a substance. Using these properties as a routine method of testing a substance and determining its purity has application in the real world. Even more important is the ability to transfer that principle to other situations involving different properties of matter. When the student makes the transition from using MP and BP to using colour, hardness and crystalline shape or density to identifying a substance without being told by the teacher, that is creativity being expressed by the student.
    After completed a lab exercise on MP and BP a follow up question might be to describe how other physical properties might be determined for a substance or used to identify a new substance.
    Standardized tests have their place but should be limited to essential skills needed to progress to the next level. There is no point in a student progressing to differential calculus if (S)he is not competent with the trigonometric and exponential functions. Standardized tests have their place in that type of situation but only as long as they are limited to the necessary skills.

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