Thursday, October 11, 2012

Four Score & 7 High Stakes Tests Later...

Standing at the Lincoln Memorial, I was moved to think about what life might have been like for President Lincoln. I wondered, how did he handle the pressures of leadership? Specifically, I wondered if he had people saying, "come on Mr. President, we have always done it this way, why change it?" Perhaps the "it" was slavery. Can you imagine his emotions knowing something so deeply in his heart, "that people should never be owned" and then having others try to convince him that he was wrong?

I admire that he led our divided Nation through the conflict and Civil War in order to have a more unified Nation today. I draw strength from history - my belief that education must be un-standardized and instead it should be customized to include much more than just the tested subjects is not going away. Everyday, it actually grows! It is absurd to believe we can put every student into a 'mold'. 

We must decide in our hearts that a child's achievement level cannot be measured during one week out of the year in a test that is largely 'fill in the bubble'. We must be strong in our quest to change the policies that are designed otherwise. Student achievement is not something that should be measured to determine the value of the child, the teacher, the school or the district but rather student achievement should be nurtured in accordance with the child's passions and gifts. The 'test' of his/her success will come later in whether they can live a fulfilled life.