The message is loud and clear: testing is the entire point and purpose of public education in the U.S. today.
My children have almost two months of school left, but for all practical purposes school is over by the 14th of April. You see the AIMS testing is happening during the second week of April here. This test is all you hear about from the time school begins. It’s is the nationwide test that serves the purpose of determining how smart our children are and thus if their school and teachers did their job to government satisfaction. (There’s a scary thought.) The entire year is spent cramming and training for success in taking the test. One could argue – I know I often do – that this “coaching to test well” has replaced teaching.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that my daughter’s math tutoring program ended last week. It doesn’t matter that there’s nearly two full months of school left, nor that she was running at full steam finally grasping many of the concepts. Similarly, I heard the announcement over the intercom last week at my son’s school that art classes were also finished for the year. I’m looking around wondering if I’m the only one who thinks it doesn’t make sense to end teaching programs two months before school is out. When I went to school you had maybe one or two days of freebies at the very end of the year which involved cleaning desks, tables, turning in books, etc. I can’t figure out why they don’t move the testing back a month making full use of their time and keeping learning going.
To me the message is loud and clear that learning is not the focus or primary objective for our public education system nor the many government regulated programs surrounding it like “No Child Left Behind Act.” No wonder we’re behind on the learning curve. And if we think our kids aren’t smart enough to figure this out then we’re in even bigger trouble.