Unfortunately for both our children and our country’s future, public education has morphed from a “culture of learning” into a “culture of testing.”

Regurgitation of facts and information has become the nearly sole emphasis of our nation’s public school systems. Ridiculously, the value of our public schools is judged almost exclusively by standardized test scores.

And, our children lose — as does the future strength of this nation. Creativeness, lateral thinking and questioning used to be three cornerstones of the best in public education — all contributing to America’s successful march toward prosperity and leadership.

Education, rightfully, should be about thinking and questioning. It’s the questions that should be sought and not just the answers.

Premises need to be questioned before acceptance. And, acceptance needs not be a group reaction. Society loses when we all begin to think alike.

Too many of us embrace testing because we often place all of our eggs in the “memorization basket” – or, at least, we’re entranced by the surface appearance of that basket.

According to Professor Ron Solorzano of Occidental University, “We are obsessed with tests,”.

“Merely having a number associated with something makes it sound worthwhile, even if the number isn’t all that valid,” writes Dean Robert J. Sternberg of Tufts University. “The problem is not the tests themselves. (The problem is) they are assigned a value way beyond what they actually have. It has become like a cult.”

What can parents do?”

Well, it’s worth paying attention to our children when they come home from school. Are they asking lots of questions about the subjects they encountered in class that day or are they repeatedly absorbed in a daily memorization process as they get ready for their next school day and the many attendant tests? If you find that their school is failing them, pick up the slack yourself

Ask the questions. That’s the key. The answers are the easy part.

Knowing the “Whats” and “Wheres” is not always better than knowing the “Hows” and “Whys.”

More on Tuesday – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning
www.itclearning.com/blog/ (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
e-Mail: bwalton@itclearning.com