I am disturbed by the lack of thoughtful pedagogy in the schools, by low standards, by an absence of curriculum that fosters inquiry and critical thinking and by the push to address a widening equity gap through the systemic use of data driven standardized tests such as the one for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career. I am seeing my child’s education as series of exercises that are to prepare her for standardized tests.
Children learn best when the learning is personal; when a child inhabits the lesson, the child will learn. That is how children develop and hone their inquiry and critical thinking skills. It is in the doing. All this time spent “catching up,” gathering data, taking tests and especially pulling struggling students out of their classes and away from their peers is doing real damage to the psyches of our smallest children. This is not how you close achievement gaps; this is called tracking, and when you start this kind of separation in kindergarten and first grade you are forever sending a message to students about who is capable and who is not.