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Thompson: Teach To The Heart (Not Primitive Standardized Tests)

HeartEnglish teacher Claire Needell Hollander, in her "Teach the Books, Touch the Heart," identifies the key to teaching and learning.  Schooling is primarily an affair of "the Heart," not "the Head." She begins her New York Times opinion piece with Franz Kafka, who wrote that “a book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside us.” Hollander recounts her teaching experiences to explain the original sin of "reform."  The data-driven crowd does not understand why the tough-minded approach to schooling is to appeal to students' moral and emotional strengths. She complains that standardized testing is teaching students, "that words do not dazzle but confound." Even when our bubble-in tests "succeed" and scores are raised, the costs are too high because we fail to teach  kids "that reading can be transformative and that it belongs to them." Hollander concludes, "We cannot enrich the minds of our students by testing them on texts that purposely ignore their hearts. By doing so, we are withholding from our neediest students any reason to read at all."-JT (@drjohnthompson) image via.


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Well said.

This version of reform amounts to the separate and unequal education that the Supreme Court may have thought it had outlawed in Brown vs. Board of Education. Just as we have a two-tiered system of health care, based on the ability to pay, so we are becoming ever more ensconced in a two-tier education system based on the ability to score highly on such tests. And NCLB has pernicious effects even in high scoring school districts such as my local one (Irvine Unified, in Orange County, California): the push to make "adequate yearly progress" and drive up state test scores pushes ever more test prep even into our primary schools. I am convinced that my younger son's older brother, now in college rather than finishing primary school like his younger brother, got a better education from the same school eight years ago than the younger one is getting today.

I’m just barely young enough to be a product of the culture that exists today in education. School was always for me an emphasis on testing. Until college, I’d argue that very little knowledge applicable to life or the job market was available to me. And honestly, a lot of the education I have today, the reason I was able to get ahead in college, is that I taught myself most of what I knew going in.

This has to stop somewhere. Standardized testing does not assess intellect, it assesses ability to regurgitate information, regardless of understanding. The recent push to mechanically “grade” essays, saving money, only points to a future in which America heads farther down this path.

getting school is more expensive now then 5 or 10 years ago but the quality more worse not better. Because to many student handle by one teacher now. So the teacher can not motivated the student personally or give his or heart to the student


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