Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Rise of the Testing Culture

Are we becoming a nation fixated with testing and measurable results? The Wasington Post is taking a closer look at that question. In the first installment in a series, Valerie Strauss takes a look at the rise of the testing culture in America. Are we becoming a nation obsessed with testing? One teacher, who runs an alternative preschool, trains three and four year old children in how to fill in ovals on a test sheet in preparation for kindergarten.

"They have to pass a standardized test from the second they get in. I saw kindergartners who weren't used to taking a test, and they fell apart, crying, saying they couldn't do it.

"The child who can sit and answer the questions correctly is identified as talented," Lee said. "It hurts me to have to do this, but it hurts the kids if I don't."

Ugh! What hurts the development of a young child is not failing to learn how to fill in bubbles on a test sheet, but failing to spend time blowing bubbles in the backyard!

My fourteen year old son just said the other day,
You know you're getting old when you can remember being young.
What will be the memories of these poor children who've been drilled their whole lives in the testing culture? No one I know likes all the emphasis on testing, so why are parents tolerating it? What will be the tipping point when parents finally say, "Enough is enough?" They are our children, why are we letting the government regulate and steal their childhood?

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