Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stress Week, 2010

This is TAKS week, meaning that everyone who is anyone in education in Texas is clenching their buttcheeks while the kids take their standardized assessments.  The standardized assessments that some idiot out there thinks means that kids are learning something aren't actually useful for much of anything.  They are a waste of time, which is why the state isn't using them for high school students starting next year. 

Here's what would be a more meaningful measure of student success:  a job.  Let's judge a school district as successful based on the percentage of students who a)graduate from the high school; b)achieve some form of higher learning degree or join the military; and c)are able to get and keep a full-time job longer than a year.

The goal of a school is not only to create a life-long learner, it is also to create a taxpaying citizen.  In order to be a taxpaying citizen, one has to have a job.  Taxpaying citizens who have a job contribute to the economy, buying food, housing, etc.  They are members of a community.

1 comment:

  1. Your post reminds me of a conversation I had with our elementary school band instructor, Mr. David Carroll, when I told him that my husband and I were trying to discourage our youngest son, Alex, from participating in band the following year. Alex's oldest sister, Randi, is a terrific band member and has a real gift for music. Alex, on the other hand, I explained to Mr. Carroll, sings "Happy Birthday" and "Silent Night" using just one note.

    He laughed and insisted that he was certain that Alex could become a musician. He also said that band isn't just about the music. It is about life skills. He'll learn to bring his instrument to school and keep his music organized. He'll learn to keep a calendar and know when his lesson is scheduled. He'll experience some healthy pressure from his classmates to perform well so the entire group sounds good. He'll learn that sometimes he will be in the spotlight and play the melody and that sometimes he is just a part of the background music and that both parts are important.

    So we acquiesced and Alex became a trombone player and he added a few notes to vocal repertoire, too.

    Now when his Dad says prayers with him each night and he sings his songs it is beautiful! My husband and I are still in a little bit of shock it sounds so darn good!

    Yes. Having all of that homework is a lot of work for the Mom and Dad and sometimes, I'll be honest, I just don't have the strength so I understand how some of those "idiot" parents feel. But you are right, just like Mr. Carroll. The life skills that the kids develop by doing the work can really make a difference.

    Raising kids is an adventure and I appreciate all the help I can get!

    Thanks for making me think about it.

    Warmest Regards,

    Denise Burks


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