Thursday, May 04, 2006

state administered exams

I am very lucky to have graduated before the Standards of Learning or SOLs were administered in the state of Virginia. Public schools are bad enough as both students and parents have little incentive to concentrate on the studies. Parents do not realize the expenses spent for public schools therefore not pushing their own children to study harder maintaining higher GPA's. The students, who don't receive this push naturally are inclined to have a race to the bottom. The ideas of why do the studies matter to the idea that they could get more out of life by dropping out of school race through the students minds. Who is the government to decide what our children should and should not know. These SOLs are a nuisance as they do not do anything but become a piece of data to show off to fellow statesmen on how educated one state is compared to the other. When students began to fail the State administered tests, the government stepped in to offer incentives. As told in the book Freakonomics by Steven Levitt, the teachers are more likely to cheat or perhaps even teach to the test rather than teach the material. I asked students in Virginia about the upcoming SOLs and found that many teachers had rushed through the material in order to cover just enough that would be included in the State test. A rushed lesson!! what is a student to learn in being rushed, perhaps they are able to memorize are maintain the knowledge for the exam but what have the students intially gained? Where is the value that is set so high in learning? Do we trust the government so much that they know what is best for our children to learn? Wouldn't a teacher who just taught her class certain material better know what to test her students on? Certaintly they may not have learned all the material, but at least the material they did learn is retained. If not for privatizing schools, then how bout just letting teachers have control over their classrooms? At least they will be able to teach upon the subjects they do know. Stress the areas they believe to be the most important and give the students a sense of rationality to understand what is right and what is wrong. I don't need the government to tell me what is right or wrong, and I don't think the students need it neither. WE all have our parents. WE all have our opinions. Need to end the state exams. Increase teachers power in classroom.

No comments: