Melissa Wiley reposts an excellent article that asks the big question: what is all this emphasis on standards, testing, academic performance, and “No Child Left Behind” doing to kids’ souls:
The present emphasis on testing and test scores is sucking the soul out of the primary school experience for both teachers and children. So much time is spent on testing and measuring reading speed that the children are losing the joy that comes but once in their lifetime, the happy messiness of paint, clay, Tinkertoys and jumping rope, the quiet discovery of a shiny new book of interest to them, the wonders of a magnifying glass. The teachers around them, under constant pressure to raise those test scores, radiate urgency and pressure. Their smiles are grim. They are not enjoying their jobs.
Our children need parents and teachers who, like Hamlet, know a hawk from a hand saw, who know foolishness when they see it and are strong enough to defend these small souls from the onslaught of escalating developmentally inappropriate claptrap. The great unspoken secret of primary school is that a lot of what is going on is arrant nonsense, and it’s getting worse. Any fool can see.
I’ve been questioning standardized tests for years. Ever since I heard Dr. Louise Cowan give a speech at the University of Dallas on the role of the university as alma mater, nourishing mother. It seems like nowadays schools are less and less interested in nourishing the growth of souls and more interested in programming thinking machines.
Another reason homeschooling appeals to me. Until the system gets fixed, and I think that will require something on the order of the cleansing of the Aegean stables, I don’t want to trust my Bella’s soul to just any old stranger.
Read the whole article here.