Feeling the Effects of Standardized Testing
The following piece is another response to the Peace Studies teacher, Emily Zionts' chapter on education practices that do/don't support youth:
When I first read this paper, I found it personally, completely relate-able! The first thing that I found really interesting is when Emily mentioned on page one in the second paragraph that much of Public Education is teaching to the test and not to the student. In my school back at home, we have to take a test called TCAP. It’s a standard test that everyone has to take up until ninth grade. Because my school is a lot smaller and has different philosophies other than teaching to the test, we were facing a really big pressure to raise our test scores or be shut down. Jeffco Open (my school at home) feels like a safe place to me, and if it didn't exist I wouldn't have the resources that I have now.
We felt so much pressure in the past year to take classes that weren't exactly fun for the student or the teacher, just so we could prepare for the test. There is more to education than this! My school at home teaches us how to prepare ourselves for the real world outside of high school, and how to make a change in what we’re doing. I found a line in this article that said, “the pressure of meeting goals of high stakes testing has left little room for learning about civic responsibility, social action, environmental sustainability...” which I feel like my school has always been about… until the past few years. We have started to give up our specialized teaching just to prove that the students are learning the things that the government feels necessary.
The next thing I found interesting was that on page 6, in the first paragraph was that “for youth…boredom can be a major factor leading to bad behaviors...” I grew up in a very small town just outside of Denver. Because it was so small, it didn't offer many opportunities for teens to have jobs, hang out somewhere safe, or be heard. As a lot of the kids started to reach high school, they turned to doing drugs and having parties to have fun. If you were not academically focused in high school, you most likely were doing drugs. I feel that a lot of small towns also feel this pressure of how to positively use teens and youths voices. I think it should really be important to have more opportunities for the youth to step forward in the community, and be active. If there was a place where youth thought they were important, fewer would fall into peer pressure and cause negative actions.
I think that education is a really important aspect of life and it can help you do wonderful things, but if it is not being taught the right way, it will not be able to.