Today as I embark on day four of my testing adventure I am greatly saddened. I can remember a time when the only test I was required to take was the good old CAT(California Acheivement Test). Oh CAT how I miss thee. I don't know what the current incarnation of that test looks like, but I know that the old one was awesome. CAT didn't take forever and I liked scoring well on standardized tests. (So maybe the childhood me's attention was biased.)
You see my teachers did not do a lot of teaching to the test. We learned quite a bit in school, but we did fun things like activities for every holiday. We also had art class for more that a few weeks, and we had the option to learn lots of different things. I can remember planting plants, learning how to make jewelry, and I even had the option to learn cosmetology or woodshop if I so desired. College prep was indeed the highest class level I could take, and if I wanted to learn a vocation, I could do that too.
Now everyone has to be college prep or you are stuck in an occupational course of study. Sadly enough not enough vocational education is going on. I wish I had the option of learning computer networking when I was in high school 15+ years ago. It would make my job as a tech teacher much easier, but alas that wasn't happening then, and it only happens in limited places now.
Let's get serious about education reform, and ask teachers what they really want, and actually listen to what they are saying. Let us prepare our students to do professions that will earn them a decent living and help them become innovators and job creators. Pre test them and post test them and let the teacher teach the curriculum.
Testing a child every 3-4 weeks on a standardized test is not gonna get us much of anything in terms of valuable productive citizens. It's just going to get us more paper pushers. No offense to paper pushers, but you guys have the market cornered. Let's do what we need to do to get some innovation. ( Oh yeah, and they will be able to bubble in a mean answer sheet or take a mean online survey!)