Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


Failing our children

“Teaching to the test,” i.e., “educating” students to pass government-mandated tests in place of teaching them anything actually illuminating, such as critical thinking, is a perfidious rot on our culture. Rather than teach kids how to think and how to judge, we’re too often teaching them rote memorization of inane facts because someone somewhere in government decided that that was a better way to go. This piece from a teacher who has taught in upstate New York schools for 29 years gives us a window into what’s wrong with these tests and advises them to, well, proudly fail. Given the thoughtful answers she quotes her students as having given — completely counter to the expectations of these tests — I’d say they’re lucky to have her.

One Response to “Failing our children”

  1. Lex Says:

    And these sorts of standardized testing matter more and more as you progress. College cost $20,000 less for us (per year) than my roommate because I scored 10 points higher than him on the SAT. On the SAT, 10 points isn’t even the difference between getting a question right or wrong, but deciding to guess (-1/4 point) rather than skip a question (-0 points). Not to mention the near monopolies some of these testing companies have. It won’t change so long as the government continues to dole out funding based on these scores. What’s needed (and happening in places like Colorado) is for government to create new methods of evaluation with the collaboration of parents, teachers, principles and legislators. I guess it’s harder in California when 88% of our budget is constitutionally dictated.

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