This morning as I sent my youngest (12) off to school, I told him I would be praying for him as he takes the STAAR test.
These standardized tests, in one form or another, have plagued my son for years. He began his worrying in 2nd grade, a year before he even tested.
The other two have never worried a bit and have done fine.
He, on the other hand….He worries, but, yet, he seems confident. “How do you think you did?” “Great,” he will reply. “The best I’ve ever done.”
Then come the results. He sometimes does ok, other times, not so much.
It is misery. He is a smart child. (Don’t tell the other two, but he’s probably smarter than they are.) Yet he struggles.
What does this test do to our children’s self esteem? How would we, as adults feel, if we were told you either pass this test, or, for the next year you get a cut in pay or a demotion?
I remember when America’s schools were at the top of their game. Why was that I wonder? I doubt it was because we are smarter than the Chinese.
Maybe it was because we had recess, and art, and music, and real P.E. Maybe it is because we were dog-tired when we came in from that long recess and were ready to concentrate on learning.
Maybe it was because if you weren’t good at math, there was reading, or if you weren’t good at reading, there was science, and failing one test on one subject didn’t cause you to fail a whole grade (or even threaten to cause you to fail).
Maybe if academics weren’t your thing, you had art or music and you plugged on knowing it didn’t matter that you couldn’t figure out fractions, you could draw or write stories, or just have a heck of a time playing with friends. Your self esteem was intact.
That is what is wrong with our schools. That is what is wrong with standardized tests.