Teaching information is the priority of public schools.
And, when information is priority, The Test becomes the sovereign to which all must bow.
We think of childhood as beginning in infancy and stretching into the dim future. There is so much time…
This is not true. What public education does is to take the largest chunk of childhood and use it up in the teaching of information. This deprives the child of the time necessary for him or her to become proficient in the very thing the child has been created to do in life.
Today I substitute in an 11th grade math class. I hand out worksheets their teacher has left for them to do while she is out. I watch many of the students struggle to remember how to graph algebraic equations on the axes x and y. A girl realizes she will have to skip her dance class tonight (the only time she feels truly alive) because she must study for tomorrow’s math test, instead. A boy was planning to help his father fix the family car after school. This won’t happen, either, for the same reason. Both girl and boy long ago concluded they were dumb and will tell me so, a complete stranger.
What is complicated is that some of the information school requires is necessary. Parents have long ago abdicated their personal privilege of determining what is, and is not, necessary for each of their children. Because The Test has taken on such a place of authority in our culture, today’s parents assume someone other than themselves knows what, and how much, information their children must learn.
Last week, USA Today ran a cover story about The Test and how common is has become for public school teachers and administrators to cheat (or help their students cheat) on The Test. The article stated, “Many teachers interviewed by [the investigating team] justified cheating…as a way of getting back at a low-paying system rigged by impossible standards and unrealistic goals. Other teachers resented that their entire reputation could hinge on a child’s performance on a single day.”
The teacher’s reputation! What about the child? Regardless of where I substitute, students cheat every time they get a chance. When I challenge them, they tell me they cannot afford to do poorly on The Test and only a handful of the recognized “geniuses” can be expected to remember the glut of details they are being required to learn.
When I was in school, I never cheated. But, then, I always thought of myself as dumb and would have told you so, a complete stranger.
When will we stop this informational overload and when will we stop making The Test the sovereign to which we all bow?
You, the homeschoolers of the world, have the opportunity to change all this. Will you?