Saturday, May 4, 2013

My Education Rant

   Every parent that has their child enrolled in the joke that we call the public education system has some kind of major issue with the way our schools are run. I have a bunch of them. I can't help having them; this is my child. Of course I am going to be concerned about the education she gets.
  One of my issues is all this testing. I don't agree with all the damn testing that the kids have to do. I'm not just talking about the standardized testing that they do once a year, although that sucks. My daughter loves
school, but they are doing that MSP testing right now, and she is all tense on the days that are her turn for the testing. And my daughter is good at tests. She has not made a bad score on any of those standardized tests; in fact, she tends to blow those standardized tests right out of the water. And my feelings are thus: if my daughter is so nervous about them, what about the poor kids that don't do well on tests? I feel so bad for those kids, because these tests are not a true measure of their knowledge or skill. And that isn't all the testing anymore. They get weekly tests on math that are timed and they get AR tests on their reading. I could never pass one of the timed  math tests that my daughter has to take. I can work the problems eventually, but not all 50 of them in ten minutes. Not happening. And AR testing? My daughter picks up a book, and she doesn't wonder if the story is good. She wonders how many points she will get for AR testing. See, for those of you that are not familiar with AR testing, each book is worth a certain amount of points, and at the end of the book, you take a test, and the amount of points you get is based on how many questions you got right. This is not what reading should be about, in my mind.
   I have an issue with all this testing because I feel for the kids that aren't good at taking tests. I am not good at taking tests, so of course I have sympathy. My mind does crazy things come test time. I'll be trying to find out what x equals, and my mind will wander and the next thing you know, I am not thinking about PEMDAS,  I am thinking about what would happen if Wolverine caught Umbrella's T-virus... Or I am trying to remember what the cons are to wind power for my environmental science, and I start thinking that it's lucky that fictional worlds seem to lack STDs, because otherwise all those people in the Game of Thrones would have genital herpes. My mind wanders to these strange places when I am trying to test, and if a grown-ass woman has these types of problems testing, you can bet that some of the little kiddies do too.
   This does not mean that I think that all the kids should be passed just for effort, or that I believe in encouraging slackers, but this does return me to one of my most familiar gripes: the insistence of society that all people fit into the cookie-cutter molds. Kids do not learn in the same way, because THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. So these tests that some kids have problems passing, all they are showing is that these kids are not getting taught in a way that connects with them.
   Which brings me to my second big issue: funding. Teachers: bless their big-ass hearts, because they make shit money, and their classes are overcrowded and they often don't have recent equipment, such as texts and computers, ect. Each kid is gonna learn differently, but try teaching every kid differently when you have thirty kids in a class and an hour for the subject. It's not gonna happen. And every time the state calls for a budget cut, what goes first? Well, I don't know about all your states, but here in Washington, it seems to be public education funding. How is that good planning? We need to pull ourselves out of a recession, and how are fixing it? By making sure the next generation is twice as ignorant as we are? Not a good plan, there. Forget the next generation of scientists and doctors and teachers and politicians; we are raising the next generation of 16 and pregnant. Whoopee!! Who needs an education? Because by making public education our last priority, we are sending the message that education doesn't matter. Because if it did, we would have cut the funding for the new lanes at the four-way stop outside of my work and left the school's already depleted funds alone. The new lanes went in, and certain after school activities were cut from my daughter's school. Makes sense, right?
   Oh, the trouble our educational system is in. I have a smart, smart daughter, but she is an easy kid to teach.  Doesn't mean that she is smarter than a kid that is harder to teach, all this means is that she makes connections more easily. And I don't really have the answers; I just know that we have a problem that needs a solution. It's a conundrum. 


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