If you have children who are stressed out in elementary, middle, or high school, this post is for you. If you have heard about the "new" SAT and have concerns, this post is for you. If you worry about high stakes standardized tests and the pressure cooker our government has thrown our kids into, this post is for you. If you wonder what is best for your children or grandchildren in education today, this post is for you.
Beyond Measure asks the important questions. The book is quite different from the film of the same name, and I found the book much stronger in content and facts.
"Rather than ask why our students fail to measure up, this film asks us to reconsider the greater purpose of education. What if our education system valued personal growth over test scores? Put inquiry over mimicry? Encouraged passion over rankings? What if we decided that the higher aim of school was not the transmission of facts or formulas, but the transformation of every student? And what if this paradigm-shift was driven from the ground up? By students, parents, and educators? By all of us?"
In this Salon article Ables states, "The most painful irony is how badly out of step our frenzied educational practices are with science. Psychology and neuroscience journals abound with studies about how children learn and thrive, and how their brains grow, and none of it bears a remote resemblance to the spirit-crushing contest we’re putting our kids through."
As if growing up weren't hard enough. As if the inherent stress of school courses weren't enough. As if the pressure of SAT's, ACT's and Keystones Exams weren't enough. We now find our kids at the precise moment in time when the corporate titan, The College Board, is messing with our children and aligning the new SAT (coming out in March 2016) with the controversial Common Core State Standards. There is no motivation in the "business" side of education these days except how to generate more profits on the backs of our children. The only people I trust are the teachers, professors, and school leaders who freely speak the truth—without the Orwellian Doublespeak.
"Recently, I read a book I think should be required reading for parents and students entering today’s college admissions trudge: Where You Go Is Not Who You Will Be, By Frank Bruni. Read this book: If it doesn’t change your life, it may make it at least a lot more pleasant. Using a variety of evidence, Bruni strongly builds the argument depicted in his title. For instance, he cites the Gallup-Perdue Index study of 30,000 U.S. college graduates; according to that study, graduates who had these experiences 'perform markedly better on every measure of long-term success compared with graduates who missed the mark on these experiences':
- professors who cared about them as a person
- a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams
- worked on a long-term project
- had a job or internship where they applied what they were learning
- were extremely involved in extra-curricular activities"
here and here.
The slick PR of the corporate education reform world is a sham. Let's take care of our kids, and fight to prevent our future grandchildren from suffering in this Madison Avenue marketed manipulation and destruction of our school systems (both private and public) that is stealing the joy of childhood from our children.