Tuesday, April 15th, 2008
Tom Chapin Asks for your Help Disemboweling ‘No Child Left Behind’
It seems Tom Chapin is no fan of Mr. Bush’s No Child Left Behind law that established standardized testing in schools. If you think this doesn’t matter because your kid is in diapers, read my sentiments about the documentary Two Million Minutes from a couple months ago.
Chapin has produced Not on The Test, a music video that hits the point home.
You can download the song, CD cover art and even the video at NotOnTheTest.com.
There are many criticisms of the law, but Chapin takes aim at how the tests lead schools to “teach to the test” — teaching a narrow set of topics and factoids… discouraging creative thinking and problem solving. A traditional full curriculum that creates well-rounded individuals gets tossed in favor of focused engineering of students to assure they pass a particular test because the stakes are too high to spend much time on anything else.
One of many side effects has been the de-emphasis and sometimes elimination of art, music or other non-test courses, a situation that Chapin wants to see reversed.
I welcome your thoughts on the issue, or perhaps a debate on whether disembowel was a proper word choice for the article title. I considered eviscerate, but decided I wanted a word with a little more grit.
After reading about test-oriented essay writing in Study Great Ideas, but Teach to the Test, I wonder whether vocabulary is ever explored beyond being a bullet point test item.
What are you doing right now to expand your child’s vocabulary? Reading a diverse selection of books from the library is our start. I also like to repeat things my 3-year-old daughter says, but with richer words, often posed as a question.
- How did you wound your knee?
- So you graciously seek my consent in order to procure a chocolate chip cookie for you to masticate?
- You would like to slather the peanut butter on the bread by yourself? Please, may I do the honor? I have worked my entire life for this culminating moment. I find it difficult to relinquish control of the spreading knife now.
Okay, I embellished a little in the last two examples, but you get my point. Everyday moments are teaching moments. You’d better get used to it if, like me, you plan to supplement your child’s schoolroom education.