Recently, the following question was asked as a lead-in for my last post:
“The inventor of the multiple choice test admitted he was wrong. Why do we still use his test a century later?”
Admittedly, this question was intended only to direct viewers and followers to my post. I was saddened by the reply that I received:
“So that every once in a while a teacher can breathe :)”
Behind that smiley face emoticon is a sad truth. Our teachers are no longer honored for their creativity and innovation. Honestly, they’re no longer honored at all. This unfortunate truth has led to a watered down education system where the best and most talented teachers/educators no longer want to be in the classroom.
When the merit of a teacher is based almost exclusively on standardized test scores, we as a society have failed our teachers. We have taken the tools out of their hands and replaced them with sometimes unrealistic mandates. We have left our teachers success and/or failure to chance that they may have a group of kids come along that will test well… or not.
A teacher now has one job: teach students to pass a standardized State required test or else. Teach to the test, and while you’re at it, breeze by a little “curriculum.” Don’t worry about the children’s strengths and where they will find success, drill down on their weakness and force feed them possible answers to a test.
Maybe the last paragraph is a little harsh, but I know from talking to many teachers, long before I was ever in education, that this is how a large majority of our teachers feel. They believe many children are getting left behind as we guide our youth down a path of mediocrity.
Unfortunately, this mediocrity is now what we’re getting out of many of our educators. The sad truth is this, so long as a teacher does just good enough to have their contract renewed, they get to continue half-heartedly teaching the future leadership of our communities. Have a problem with our current economic crisis and political unease? Unless we demand education reform, the future doesn’t look too bright either.
Personally, I’m very fortunate to be a part of an organization that has a bigger vision than this. When leadership and innovation are infused with passion, there are no limits as to the future we can provide our students. It is important that we understand that our children that are now infants or just beginning their primary school years will be led and affected by the decisions of those who are now entering our communities as “productive citizens.” Our grandchildren will, in turn, be influenced by today’s High School students.
It is time we demanded more of our education system. It is time that we allowed creativity and innovation back in the classroom. We must focus on the strengths of our children and guide them to be sound decision makers. We need artists, and musicians, and scholars. We need mechanics, and plumbers, and trades people. We need CEOs, and business owners, and politicians with high character, integrity, and passion. We will fail our children when we fail to honor and respect our teachers enough to foster our future.
It is unfair and unrealistic to believe that all students are equal in their abilities to pass all portions of a test. Multiple choice is nothing more than multiple guess! Our teachers are on the front lines to recognize the great qualities of our children that will shape our future. Isn’t it time we empowered them to create a learning environment that is diverse and pioneering. We first must respect our teachers as more than glorified, cheap, babysitters.
Are you willing to accept a call to action and demand better of our education system? Do you agree that we should regard our teachers at a much higher distinction, and yet expect more than mediocrity?
Average is today’s excellence. Is this what you want for your student? Average?