I’m a huge fan of Bill Maher’s, but he does say things that sharply remind me he is not a parent himself. This is one of those times.
It’s no secret that I’ve had issues with teachers and certain assignments, but it’s because I believe that really great teachers make a world of difference.
Still, I would never say that the teachers are the only ones to blame. Nor would I say that all parents are completely blameless.
If I was only allowed to assign one party to blame, I would say that it’s standardized tests. Which no one even fights anymore.
There was a time, not too long ago, that teachers unions and parents all rallied against federalized standardized tests. And then No Child Left Behind came along, and the fight was over.
I’m tired of hearing both teachers and administrators state that their educational goals are to pass standardized tests. I would much rather hear that the educational goals are to teach my children. It made me sick when my daughter, 8 at the time, got stomach aches when testing time came (at a school that got great scores, btw). It was much more pleasant to watch my other daughter, at the same age, excited to go to school testing week and “show off” what she can do.
And let’s not forget that last year and this year, the teachers and students will be going into testing week, knowing that some of these teachers will be gone next year due to budget cuts. How could that not affect everyone involved?
Still, in the end, I don’t want to play this game. I want solutions. I want some creative thought. I want to see parents and teachers ban together and protest the whole testing week altogether. I would love to see all of us on #ptchat and #edchat, thinking about ways to work more effectively (and together) within the current confines that restrain our system.
Because the truth of the matter is, there will always be some parents and some teachers who don’t help students reach their full potential. The object should be that every child can overcome any obstacle, with the help and support of most parents and most teachers.