cross-posted at The G Bitch Spot

Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools Destroy Creativity?

A fair question as we uproot, upend, redo, repaint, revamp schools in the name of “reform”—what IS it that we are trying to achieve? Test scores are not enough because test scores do not tell a complete, or even a very good partial, story.

The problem with using tests to make important decisions about people’s lives is that standardized tests are not precise instruments. Unfortunately, most elected officials do not realize this, nor does the general public. … All tests have a margin of error, like opinion polls, and the same student could produce different scores when taking the same test on different days [Ravitch 152].

Eliminating teachers unions and tenure are not the answer because no one has shown that they are the problem [and those who claim it is the or one major problem often have other reasons to dislike organized labor]. Filtering out children as we have done in NOLA, creating a three-tiered system of high-scoring selective admissions schools with a couple brand-new and unproven charter schools thrown in because of test scores, mid-range schools that are trying but not busting the cap off anybody’s test, and the schools that have to take whoever comes, no matter where they were expelled from, what their IEP advises, who or what their parents are or are not, where they live, what color they are, who in their family finished any kind of school. What will the results of the experiment be? “Higher test scores” means little 20 years down the road. What kind of citizens, adults are we molding? Do we care?

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Ravitch, Diane. The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. New York: Basic, 2010.

a mad black woman in New Orleans

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