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

Monday, November 13, 2006

Testing Poison Sickens Soccer Moms

Since its inception, No Child Left Behind and its emphasis on measuring, testing and standardization has been wreaking havoc on the nation's poorest and most vulnerable school districts but the poison being spewed by a $2.8 billion testing industry and this bad legislation is now infecting wealthy suburban districts.

The question is how long will soccer moms and white collar dads put up with this intellectual and emotional genocide that is destoying the fabric of our democracy by turning students into mindless robots and sucking the joy out of learning and school for most of Americas children? .

For a glimpse into this phenomenon, see today's story in the New York Times on the disappointing experiences of a few families who have fled the cities for the lure of high-scoring wealthy suburban public schools. How much longer will it take for the American public to connect the dots and stand up and say "NO" to reauthorization of NCLB and the testing companies that are profiting from this poison?

Here's a few clips from the story:
Only the suburban bargain the Ophirs thought they were getting turned out to be no bargain at all. They chose the Yorktown school system, a relatively well-off district whose students consistently outscore their peers on state tests. But the Ophirs came to view the schools as uninspiring and unresponsive, and now they pay $51,000 a year for their children, 11-year-old Dylan and 9-year-old Sabrina, to attend the private Hackley School here — on top of $23,000 annually in property taxes.

Many parents said they were stunned at how poorly even some well-regarded public schools compared with private schools. They complained about what they considered rigid curriculums, excessive standardized testing and tight budgets that allow for few elective classes and limited foreign language choices. And they said the public schools, powerless to choose who fills the desks, often had less motivated students.

Other parents found the teaching in their public schools unimaginative. Susan Drews, 49, who lives in Yorktown Heights, in Westchester, said that art in the first grade at her son’s public school, for instance, involved “half-baked projects” like gold-sprayed macaroni glued to paper plates. “People went through the motions, they could claim there was an art program, but I didn’t feel it was very rich,” she said.

In contrast, Mrs. Drews said that her son, Sam, now 12, had become a passionate learner at Rippowam Cisqua, where teachers have encouraged his curiosity through projects like building an arch and studying rocks and bones found nearby.
Where is the passion to end this madness?

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