Here’s another way students are cheated. In elementary school, which I teach, we tend to go through genre studies. We take a genre of literature at a time and go through it. Well, now what more and more schools are doing is teaching the test itself as a genre—that is, studying the features of a test, as you would a novel, or as you would historical fiction or mysteries. You’re laughing, but this is very serious. Any teacher watching this knows what I’m talking about, that you, in elementary school, in many schools, especially the schools where that gun to the head is already cocked—in the poorest schools, in the schools that teach the most disadvantaged students, students of color, in schools in Harlem—you have to teach students how to take a test. You have to tell eight-year-olds about multiple choice, right? And the thing that gets me is that the, you know, wealthy individuals who promote these policies send their own kids to schools that look nothing like that, where inquiry is promoted, where they don’t spend all day obsessing about how they’re going to do on someone else’s test.

I’ve seen schools that begin right away, that begin the first week of school, where they begin with pretests to try to, you know, tell the kids—if you ask a kid in Harlem—go to any school in Harlem and ask a young elementary school student, “What’s the point of school? Why are you here?” They’ll tell you, “It’s to pass tests, so that I can get a job.”

There’s nothing about—you know, I heard Jonathan Kozol speak at the Save Our Schools march, and he said something that really stayed with me. He said, at the wealthy schools, at your Phillips Exeter and Andover Academies, you know, those kids get to feast on the treasures of the earth. They get to enjoy literature and savor it. And they get to savor their savoring of it. And in our schools, too often kids are given these kind of cardboard passages that are meant to show them what a noun is. But there’s no joy in it. And there’s no—I would argue there’s no real learning.



"Poverty Is the Problem" With our Public Schools, Not Teachers’ Unions | | AlterNet

This is just incredibly true and important and pressing and you should all read it right now because it is vital. I’m completely serious.

Source: alternet.org
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