"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

. . .a pupil attitude factor, which appears to have a stronger relationship to achievement than do all the “school” factors together, is the extent to which an individual feels that he has some control over his own destiny. James Coleman, 1966

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Intellectual and Emotional Genocide Against Children

How does NCLB's high-stakes testing constitute an intellectual and emotional genocide against children? Let me count the ways.

A genocide is a systematic slaughter of an identifiable group of persons, often involving an ethnic group. An intellectual and emotional genocide, then, would be a systematic destruction of the intellectual and emotional contents or capacities among member of any such group. On both counts, the testing hysteria of NCLB qualifies.

Can anyone in his right mind argue that it was necessary to label these hundreds of thousands of fourth and eighth graders as failures in order to move them up a few points on a test? To have the joy of coming to school sucked out and to have learning turned into the same type of onerous mind-numbing that most of these children will inherit when they leave school. What are these few points on a test going to gain them as they move from school to jobs? No one can argue that these children of poverty are headed in significant numbers to university? For those few who do make to higher education, how many of them will have got there because these tests inspired to them do so? How many will have worked and scraped in these test preparation schools to enter college entirely unprepared for the thinking that will expected of them. And if that was the only way to raise their pathetic scores, has it been worth it for hundreds of thousands who now see themselves as the failures we have made them? Would it not have been better to let them have their childhoods and the fun that once associated with coming to school, to insist that their teachers expect, and to accept, the best that each child can deliver, to insist that they come to take part in deciding their own lives and putting the

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