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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

The Dark Side of the Square

The Dark Side of the Square

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Now Playing>> Band: Pink Floyd Record: Dark Side of the Moon The curtain is up; it’s silent, and… “We’re testing Pre-K!?” (Scratch my head) What? I have my concerns, thoughts, even curiosity, when the first experience a Pre-K student has in a real school setting is the lovely experience of taking a test. I mean, no “What is your favorite color?” “What do you want to do when you grow up?” “What is your name?” Sorry, the editor is yelling at me because I used the wrong terminology. Hold on. Okay. I mean they are being screened, not tested. My fault. The kid walks into a huge library, scared to death, and what do we do? We screen them; put them through a sieve and see what stays and what swirls down the drain. Why? Because we can? Because we have to in order to get money from the state? To group them? What happens with the numbers? One scenario: Teachers analyze the data and go on to peg Joey as the kid who can’t build a wall with blocks. Then what? The kid practices at home (maybe) until he can make that darn wall. Then he starts to brag that he can make that wall better than Sally. Then what have we created? Damian Cooper, assessment guru, once said, “Human beings come into this world innately wired to learn. They (we) are not innately wired to compete in sports. And before you know it they are competing for numbers.” Is this why America can’t think critically? We want them to pass a test that is a one way street, painted one color with one very grumpy crossing guard. And now it’s beginning in Pre-K. There goes the neighborhood. I might be wrong or overreacting or just looking at the dark side of the moon, but what do you think? I’m sure there is good in this as well. Show me the sunny side.

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