The Daily Daily: Always choose “B”

President Obama has a lot on his plate.  I mean, a lot.  But the guy never seems like he’s stressing it.  You know?  If I was him, I’d be crying on national television. I would be openly weeping.  But Obama is just, like, not phased.  He’s a statue.  That’s it.  He is an actual Golum.  No he’s not.  But he’s super cool.  He’s so cool that he said something that I’ve been thinking since I was ten.  Standardized Tests are dumb, and we should stop giving them.

President Barack Obama said Monday that students should take fewer standardized tests and school performance should be measured in other ways. Too much testing makes education boring for kids, he said. “Too often what we have been doing is using these tests to punish students,” the president told students and parents at a town hall hosted by the Univision Spanish-language television network at Bell Multicultural High School in Washington, D.C. Obama, who is pushing a rewrite of the nation’s education law that would ease some of its rigid measurement tools, said policymakers should find a test that “everybody agrees makes sense” and administer it in less pressure-packed atmospheres, potentially every few years instead of annually. At the same time, Obama said, schools should be judged on criteria other than student test performance, including attendance rate. “One thing I never want to see happen is schools that are just teaching the test because then you’re not learning about the world, you’re not learning about different cultures, you’re not learning about science, you’re not learning about math,” the president said. “All you’re learning about is how to fill out a little bubble on an exam and little tricks that you need to do in order to take a test and that’s not going to make education interesting. And young people do well in stuff that they’re interested in,” Obama said. “They’re not going to do as well if it’s boring.”

The brother’s right.  As an English Instructor, I spend most of my time trying to get students to read things and then trying to get them to understand what these things are, why these things are important, and why they should care about them.  It is tough.  But, generally, these students are more engaged if they are working on a problem, like a paper, in a strong, fundamental way.  Looking at four questions and then deciding which of the four is correct doesn’t seem instructive.  We need to invest more money in schools so that teachers, actual people in the class room, spend more time teaching and engaging and less trying to get students to memorize information.  Once you don’t need information, you forget it.  But if you care and are interested in what you are learning, it sticks with you forever.

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One thought on “The Daily Daily: Always choose “B”

  1. Yesterday, I kid you not, a student told me that her high school AP English class got out of writing essays altogether by making nice with the teacher and pleading not to have to write essays. And she let them! My students can take a test just fine, but not all of them can actually comprehend what they’ve read, and most of them don’t know how to write about it (understand + formulate opinion + make a compelling argument + communicate effectively). Ah, education. (Is that even the right word for what happens in high school anymore?) Jeez, I’m on a soapbox this morning…

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