Saturday, April 21, 2012

Why Corporations And Politicians Want Teachers To Teach To The Test

Claire Needell Hollander sums up how the current focus on testing reading destroys students' experience of reading literature.
We cannot enrich the minds of our students by testing them on texts that purposely ignore their hearts. By doing so, we are withholding from our neediest students any reason to read at all. We are teaching them that words do not dazzle but confound. We may succeed in raising test scores by relying on these methods, but we will fail to teach them that reading can be transformative and that it belongs to them.
She correctly points that standardized tests like the Dakota STEP "are complex only on the sentence level — not because the ideas they present are complex, not because they are symbolic, allusive or ambiguous."

Hollander quotes Franz Kafka who claimed “a book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside us.”  Therein lies the rub.  Helping students have a richer inner life doesn't fit with the purpose that corporate America believes that they should perform.  That purpose is succinctly and humorously summed up in this tweet:
Diane Ravitch correctly sums up the stakes with this tweet:
Education is increasingly a race between civilization and a system of accounting that has no brain and no heart.
— Diane Ravitch (@DianeRavitch) April 21, 2012
I fear the battle for hearts, minds, and souls may be already lost; McShit has won.  

1 comment:

caheidelberger said...

If I'm selling something, I don't want people to take time to contemplate how they really feel or what they really want. I don't want them to dawdle and keep me from getting to other more eager buyers. I don't want them to stroll to other stores, go home and discuss their possible purchase with someone else. The only text that matters is my sales pitch, and you've got to act now!

You make me realize the disgusting aptness of the analogy to individual, on-the-clock, high-pressure standardized tests.