When the Chalk Dust Settles…

I am not a big fan of standardized tests.

Trying to measure intelligence using torture devices such as Scantrons and stuffy, windowless rooms is downright mean. Plus, people go into testing all stressed out because of high expectations. At least, that’s how I felt before every standardized test from elementary school through college. My stress level was through the roof!

It seemed as if the fate of my life rested on if I knew the circumference of a circle or the antonym of ambivalent or the number of protons in Californium.

Please do not take me as an opponent of education or as a slacker who has a vendetta against the education system. I am being a bit hyperbolic in order to prove a point about measuring success. I can remember time after time of cramming before tests and realizing a few weeks later that I did not remember anything. Though it’s quite shameful to admit now, at the time it didn’t matter whether I actually knew the material, only that I could regurgitate the correct answers.

Is it possible that by focusing on test results the quality of education is eroding?  

Some argue that if students were truly passionate, they would want to learn. Others say that teachers are burned out, so they do not make the subject matter fun. The political nuts scream out against corrupt politicians who are stealing money and robbing our children of a proper education. All of these answers have elements of truth, but I do not think that any one issue can be held solely responsible for the problem.

When the chalk dust settles, the real problem is plain: Both adults and children desire the riches of success and the expertise of professionals without putting in the work needed to achieve either.

By teaching children to expect something for nothing, I’m afraid that future generations, beginning with mine, are doomed to fail. 

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