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Raising creative thinkers, not test-takers

Two recent stories, including Gina Barreca’s column, “We’re Teaching to the Test—Not Students’ Futures,” in The Hartford Courant and Philip Kovacs blog post, “An Open Letter to My Son’s Kindergarten Teacher,” clearly convey what teachers and parents have been saying about the effects of high-stakes testing on children. The articles raise questions about the problems associated with our country’s focus on testing, not teaching.

The stories are well-written and worth reading and sharing with family, friends, and lawmakers.

Barreca writes

I’m worried that we’re no longer teaching students how to think critically or to write well.

Everything I’m hearing from teachers, students and parents suggests that, with the standardized testing epidemic sweeping through our nation’s public schools, what we’re teaching the next generation is how to fill in the blanks and work from templates.

American students are forfeiting creativity, inspiration and contextual understanding in order to do better on high-stakes exams. It’s a meretricious trade.

Read the entire story, “We’re Teaching to the Test—Not Students’ Futures.”

In a letter to his son’s kindergarten teacher, Kovacs, an associate professor at the University of Alabama, writes:

I’d prefer that you skip tests all together and let him hang out in one of your learning centers. In fact, I’m looking into the legality of me opting him out of high-stakes, standardized tests for the entire time he’s in the system. I want to argue that the 4th Amendment protects us from unreasonable search and seizure. A testing schedule of 40 days is, arguably, unreasonable.

I think we can change the world’s trajectory by raising inquisitive beings, and the place to start is in your classroom. Please let me know what I can do to support you this year. If I am around too much, am too eager to help, know that I am just making sure that my boy, and the boys and girls around him, are getting the best education they can…where education means love of learning, not memorizing disassociated facts.

Read the entire article, “An Open Letter to My Son’s Kindergarten Teacher.”


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