No Child Left Behind…bah humbug!

The new laws regarding education are beyond understanding. In a couple years, government officials say all students will pass a standardized test before they graduate. All. 100%.
The test isn’t basic skills.
If I had had to pass the test to graduate, I would’ve failed.
I had this thing about math. It hated me.
But this test 100% of all students will pass includes Alg. 1 & 2 and Geometry. Chemistry, Physics and Biology.
I have a Master’s Degree in English. I love school. But I would’ve bombed a test with that stuff on it.
And why do kids need to be able to do advanced math and science in order to graduate any way? Math teachers around the world might disagree, but I’ve never needed to use Algebra. Not once. Seriously. I learned it in my 20s because I refused to be conquered by fear of numbers. I’m glad I did. But it was wasted time.
Today I saw this great story about a new superintendent in a district that used to have tons of failures. She was amazing and energetic and obviously good at her job. But the last thing she said blew me away. All kids prepared for college. All kids go to college. That’s her philosophy.
When did college become essential for success? My husband used to be an auto mechanic. He made a ton more money than I do as a teacher with a Master’s Degree. The guy who fixes my air conditioner makes more money than me. College is great if you want to go into a profession that requires it, but why is it required to be successful? And I don’t know about the kids in that lady’s district, but in my district, we definitely have kids who aren’t going to college.
I’m all for high expectations, but be reasonable. If a kid can’t write their name, they’re not going to do much with college.
A couple years ago I read this great article about a mentally disabled girl who worked full-time at the local Air Force base. She had an apartment. She took the bus to work. She had benefits. (better than the ones Texas teachers get!) She didn’t pass a test to graduate. And she didn’t go to college. But she had a great life.
I’ve seen the stories about kids who barely speak English when they start high school and end up at Harvard on full scholarships because of high expectations. I know educators and parents have to demand the best from their students. I demand the best from my students. But I’ve pretty much decided this whole every kid is going to college, No Child Behind nonsense is the brainchild of testing companies bilking education systems out of billions of dollars. Unfortunately parents and politicians are buying right into their deception, and that’s a crying shame–especially for the kids who didn’t graduate last year because they couldn’t pass a test.

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