Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Popularity of High-stress Testing

One of the most disturbing phenomenon about the high-stress universal testing movement is the dogmatic appeal that it has fostered. In America, a country who so often describes itself as compassionate, caring, and Christian values driven, there is virtually no evidence of any such practice in education.

Today, educational practice is dictated more often by business consultants insisting that they aren't hiring American workers because they're uneducated rather than because they've sold their souls to cheap, inexpensive, and insecure foreign labor. And corporations reinforce these ideas as often as they can by sponsoring talk-show mouthpieces who hammer home the subversive idea that American children are lazy, underperforming, and overindulged.

By and large, none of this is true.

What is true is that the practice of education at its worst approaches the same cruelties and attitudes that propel our so-called wars on terror, drugs, and minority communities.

To subject every human being to high-stress anything assumes that not a single one might be harmed by the practice. No such evidence exists. Nor is there a compelling argument that children [or adults for that matter] can withstand year upon year of high stress, ever increasing workloads without cracking somehow.

Let me remind you I'm not speaking of concentration camps, we are speaking of education practice.

Monday, the Courant ran yet another article describing the victimization of children by adults and educational professionals who know better. You will find no heroes in education these days - they've long ago turned their back on the best interests of chidren for the praise of the roman crowds cheering for more pain.

Testing Policy Under Scrutiny
Requirements Upset Some Disabled Students
May 29, 2006
By ROBERT A. FRAHM, Courant Staff Writer

"Every time he walked in to take the test, he would have a seizure," she said. "Finally, I said no more testing until I can get an answer from somebody." She said her son cannot read or write at his grade level.

"How," she asked, "can you give him an eighth-grade test?"

That is exactly the kind of question top-level state education officials are asking about the impact of the pressure-packed annual test on at least a handful of disabled children with serious academic problems.

Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, those children are required to take the six to seven hours of mastery tests at their actual grade level - tests that parents and educators believe are beyond their ability to comprehend. As in the Bristol case, the results can be distressing.

If you have the stomach for it, view the results of the Courant poll. I'm assuming this poll represents the self-described "compassionate" society that has given us Bush and a daily more unimaginably atrocious scandal a day, every day for years. Someday an Education profession will look back on these years as the dark ages for children. Until then, the educational floggings will continue until corporations hire American kids again.

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