I am so angry and upset about the education of our young children I can hardly speak. I am so tired of hearing data, data, data. Children are not data. They are unpredictable little entities that surprise you when you least expect it.
Support the data. What does that even mean? Children are not a science experiment. Children need to explore and try and choose. They need to take ownership of their learning. Now what the heck does that mean? It means the child has to buy into what you want her to do. Our responsibility as educators is to set up the environment so the child wants to perform or try or take a chance.
There is no scientific pattern for how a child learns. There are stages that every child passes through but not on an assigned day at an assigned time. In other words, If Jo and Moe were both born on May 1, 2000 you would not expect them both to learn to walk on May 1, 2001. That would be downright silly, right? But Jo and Moe are expected to enter school on the same day, learn the alphabet letters on the same day, etc. Do you see where I'm going with this? Setting up unreasonable goals is setting our education system up for failure.
Then the blame game begins. The superintendent blames the principal and the principal blames the teacher. There is no one to blame, the blame is in the fundamental idea behind the program! Why can't anyone see that? If you exit the classroom and go on to bigger and better things( a matter of opinion) why do you forget what children are like?
And politicians are the worst. They are supposedly educated people who went to college even. Didn't they take psychology 101? A lot of them are parents too. Did they not see their children develop? Why is this such a hard concept for them--every kid is different and learns in her own time. This is not hard to catch on to. It is as plain as the nose on your face.
Teachers of young children know that school has to be fun and engaging and well-rounded for every kind of learner. When you take away their ability to do that by standardizing and data collecting you take away the opportunity for them to do their job.
Once again, I ask that you look back on your school years. Which classes did you like the most? Which teacher was your favorite? I bet if you think about it you liked those classes and teachers because THEY WERE FUN!
Children are not guinea pigs or lab rats. They are developing human beings who need to be taught from the heart and the mind. Give children a chance to be children and they will grow to be educated adults.