Sunday, September 7, 2008

About Those Little People and the Teachers Who Want to Serve Them

Just came across a video of Jonathan Kozol discussing the content of his book, "Letters to a Young Teacher". Although the video is a year old now, it is as timely as ever. Kozol humanizes both children and the teachers who work with them. High-stakes testing and standardization can easily rob both of the diversity of gifts and talents that make them who they are and who they might become.

Children are not miniature adults. They are children. And they are individuals, naturally and wonderfully resistant to being standardized. The burden and the loss that result from the maniacal obsession with standardized testing fall most heavily on poor children, as Kozol notes. And I feel compassion for my colleagues teaching in the inner cities. If they have become defensive, perhaps it is in large part because they are maligned and scapegoated relentlessly. I am fortunate that the conditions under which I am allowed to teach are far better, although no one is escaping NCLB unscathed. Across the nation, from the day our doors open for the first day of school, education is about The Tests.


Education should be about developing the individual child, not producing standardized workers for the global economy.

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