Tuesday, June 08, 2004

And I'm off..

I've had one of those crazy mornings where I had a bunch of short errands to run but it seems I didn't get much done and there's still not enough time.

I finally relocated my favorite camera repair guy. My old ancient Nikon is fixable, he says. The back lid is warped so it pops open at inopportune times, such as whoops, I just exposed my entire roll of film type thing. And the mystery of the little black things in my camera: it's my old foamy gasket falling apart. That needs to be replaced as well but all at a reasonable price. A relief but the digital cameras seem alluring.

And then it was off to the cheap stores to find accessories for the kindergartener's Aloha birthday party. No luck but I'm not finished. And egads. Now it's almost 1 PM and I have to pick up the kindergartener.

Looks like the schools are starting the testing culture early these days. Yesterday, I was mighty pissed to find out all the kindergarteners took their first standardized test. I was told some teachers weren't happy but it was mandatory. My kindergartener took it all in stride but some of the math sounded strange to me: 3 minus 4 is 3, right? What? Kindergarteners can be horribly unreliable, I know, but I'm going to find out more.

Speaking of tests, plese visit Cmdr Sue who eloquently makes a lot of excellent points in her post : "This is a test, this is only a test...".
    ...This brings into question - are the issues with American education an educational system issue? Or a social issue?

    One reason that is so close to my heart is that I was bored OUT OF MY MIND in public school. I was the youngest in the family by seven years - a family that prized intelligence. Like Stacie, I can't remember a time when I couldn't read. By third grade I was dragging my brother's geometry book around, proclaiming that I could teach myself geometry faster than they would ever teach it to me in school. My mother tried to get them to skip me at least a grade ahead but apparently southern Mississippi was too provincial for that. By seventh grade I convinced my parents to send me to a private school. The first one, Coast Episcopal, was pretty good. At least I got to learn some Latin. Then I moved to Alabama and started eighth grade at St. Paul's Episcopal...

    What I've taken from this experience isn't that we need to do more for the smart people. I feel that we need to value ALL of our students/children for their unique talents, interests, situations, and desires. I'm not saying I know how to do that, but obviously someone does because those are the teachers that get stories written about them and movies made about them. If "education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire", then those are the teachers who know how to light those fires. From what I can tell it doesn't have anything to do with tests, structure, and systems. It has to do with faith, passion, and dedication.

    But it's also true that all the faith, passion, and dedication in the world can't make a cactus grow in a swamp.
This is only a part of it so please go to her site and read the rest. The questions she poses in the beginning are good ones.

Update: Test was an assessment, part of a pilot program to determine placement.