Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Are you pro-testing?

After reading about the direction of education reform in my posts Fourth Purpose of Schooling and Jeb Bush joins the Chorus, CJ asked the question,
What can we do about this issue? We know what's coming down the pike - how do we prevent it from happening?
The answer is simple but not easy. Quoting again from John Taylor Gatto's website (emphasis added),
As powerful and well funded as this monster is, it is at the same time, ironically, very delicate. Locally, it only takes a few determined people with staying power to temporarily grind these engines to a halt, sending reverberations of dissonance into every level of the system. Think only of the multi-billion dollar standardized testing aspect of the thing; with relatively little investment of time or money a well-orchestrated campaign to sabotage these instruments could be launched and prosecuted over the Internet. You need only think back to the mass of teenagers who brought the war in Vietnam to a premature conclusion, to see that an essential lynchpin of the fourth purpose system -testing -could quickly be destroyed. The fallout from such a termination would rock systematic schooling with unpredictable results for the stability of the institution.
Courage - that is what is needed. Do you remember Tiananmen Square of 1989? The bravery of one Chinese citizen to stand before the column of tanks halted their progress and inspired the world. We must exhibit the same courage to stand up before the test and say, "
We will direct our children's education not an army of educrats in Washington and their battery of tests. "
Parents don't have to homeschool to halt the reforms (but it helps!). They just have to be willing to say "no" to the test. (I have yet to meet one parent in our area who likes the time and emphasis spent on the exams.) The question is do we as parents have the will say "no" to the test and the bribe to take it?
What will the history books record about this generation? Will they see images of parents standing in front of the "tanks" or sitting on the sidelines as the "army" rolls on by?

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