Wednesday, August 02, 2017

hook, line and sinker.

A few years back I was cleaning and arranging in the school wood shop when a young family came by. They had seen the school sign, and stopped as they were curious (as most parents are) about the options for their kid. They seemed intrigued with the school as I gave them a brief tour and were amazed by the wood shop. But then the big question came up as the mother asked, "What are your test scores?" It was a question I could not answer, but one that rests at the heart of the American educational calamity.

I propose a war against the standardized testing industry. The reductionary tactic of turning young children into a purely statistical analytical shadows of their themselves should be regarded as a criminal enterprise. Standardized testing only monitors and measures certain areas of intelligence and while it was once used as a tool and kept mum by educators, it became a club used inexpertly to batter and divide, those who were or were not going to college, and to predict and sort students into piles. The worst part is that parents, out of their own insecurity, bought in to the over entanglement between education and the standardized testing industry, hook, line and sinker.

The phase "hook, line and sinker," has become commonplace, and can be said without the reader visualizing what it means. But if you have ever reeled in your Zebco with a line that had been left unattended during lunch, and attempted to extract a swallowed hook from an entangled fish, you will know that catch and release is no longer an option. If as a young child, you had to pull the guts from a fish, you may know what we are up against.

I had a lovely conversation this week with a young educator challenged with proving the results and efficacy of her teaching efforts, with kids who have already been damaged both by society and by the distortions inherent in classroom management. I wish I had more to offer her than to decry the stupidity of our situation.

Yesterday I had the delight of assisting students in Steve Palmer's furniture class at ESSA. It is a lovely thing to see people create, and to assist them in seeing their own industrial aspirations bear fruit.

Make, fix, and create...

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