Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Crystal balls don't work

I remember vividly having a little heart-to-heart chat with B. one day in his room, sometime during his junior year of high school.

"Do you have any idea what you think you might want to do as an adult? Do you think it might involve math or science?" I asked.
"No! I don't want to do anything with math and science," he unhesitatingly replied.
"Fine. Then let's put us both out of our misery and say you're done taking math and science classes for high school." We both paused for a moment, breathed a sigh of relief and B. went back to reading book number 253 about World War Two that he was in the middle of. (For the record, he had enough math and science for his transcript. I'm not completely negligent.)

Fast forward four years.

That non-math and science loving boy is now an environmental science major in college and doing quite well. In fact, he has become something of an organic chemistry rock star. I look back on that earlier conversation and chuckle a bit. And remind myself that I really need to take back that crystal ball and get a refund. It clearly isn't working.

I'm relieved I can chuckle about the whole incident, and not just because my son is doing so well in school. If he were a history major and never took another math or science class in his life, I would still be proud of him. It isn't about his major or his abilities. It's really about the crystal ball.

We cannot predict the future in regards to our children. And if an (overly) attentive homeschooling mother cannot predict the future, then sure as heck, the standardized testing industry cannot predict the future, either. Yet this is exactly what these testing companies and the politicians who are hand-in-glove with them want you to think. Why else would so much time be spent on useless tests which sort and categorize even very young children instead of actually teaching them something? How can they even begin to predict what a child will find interesting at the age of 20 based on a test scored in 3rd grade? Why do we even let the testing companies experiment on our children in this way?

Because frankly, we just don't know what the future holds. Think back on your own childhood. While some adults do pick out a chosen profession or avocation early on in childhood, I'm pretty sure the vast majority do not. Children are a work in progress. Why should we try to pin down what they will be so early?

Standardized testing isn't a traditional/school vs. homeschool issue. It is a humanity issue. The minute we think that human beings, even young ones, can be reduced to a score on a test, we have reduced their humanity by just a little bit. We have taken away a bit of who they are and who they may be. We have ceased to look at the child as a real person and instead begun to thought of them as a piece of data to be tabulated and evaluated and sorted and slotted.

This is not education.

Parents, take back the humanity of your children and opt out. Just say no and relieve your children (and their teachers) of the burden of being a statistic.

1 comment:

Alex and Riann said...

Thank you for this excellent reminder.

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