GenEd: All Testing Left Behind

Testing, not kids, is what’s failing across America.

Testing, not kids, is what’s failing across America. We’ve known this for damn near two decades, and the time for students, teachers, parents, and schools to take back and rebuild our decimated education system is far overdue.

This is not a polite request. This is not a humble suggestion. This is a boorish, pompous, ferocious command on behalf of educators and the American people. 2014 has come and gone, and as far as “No Child Left Behind” is concerned, let’s just say that some “childs” have been left behind.

Bush is not alone to blame. The Obama administration’s policies not only reinforced, but exacerbated the malicious mandates of NCLB, and the administration’s failure in 2014—the projected success year of “100%-proficiency” objectives—to review, address, and repair the downright criminal damage that has now become standard practice in American education is inexcusable.

Yes, Trump enthusiasts: you can blame OBAMA.

But Trump hasn’t quite Made Education Great Again either. By appointing as his Secretary of Education the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing, the Bloody Mary of educational monarchy, the Vlad Dracul of child-bloodsuckers, Trump’s administration has sealed the coffin on U.S. educational decimation.

…the entire teaching profession has been hijacked by spineless politicians, vampiric lobbyists, and bankrolling assessment corporations [who] commodify our very children!

It is factually, empirically, and observably true that these testing practices interfere with student learning. They impede teaching and planning and undermine teacher professionalism. They cripple the entire educational network, pinning states, superintendents, administrators, and teachers against one another in perpetual blame-gaming. I’ll not reiterate for the nth time the colossal baggage of facts and figures which verify these realities, partly because we’ve heard it all before, and partly because facts and figures don’t seem to inspire the slightest iota of productive action on behalf of our children.

Instead, the entire teaching profession has been hijacked by spineless politicians, vampiric lobbyists, and bankrolling assessment corporations which have managed, before the eyes of an entire nation, to commodify our very children!

This past week, I had to sit and watch my beloved students raked through the medieval rack of the mental, physical, and spiritual torture that is the SAT. It is heartbreaking, cruel, and inhumane. I’m tired of the death of kindergarten, the weeping and traumatic anxiety of third-grade testers, the sight of soul-dead eighth-graders physically awry in their steel-stiff rows of plastic and metal chairs; the language-famished, embittered high-school juniors whose souls have been robbed of the joy of learning and who’ve thus developed a PTSD-like revulsion toward print material. I speak on behalf of these children, my children, your children: this has to stop!

Instead of becoming the doctors, lawyers, and engineers, [teachers]’d rather create the doctors, lawyers, and engineers.

Some may dismiss my call for action as a complaining teacher’s rant. “What’s your solution,” they might retort. Good news: I have one. It is what drives the greatest models of education in the world, from Finland to Singapore. It is consistent with research and practice, and it is the only option which the U.S. has yet to implement: Return the teaching profession to the teachers and reverse the legally, practically, and culturally reinforced perception that in America, “those who can’t do, teach.”

I can do. I’ve authored books, achieved proficiency in several languages, and earned a graduate degree. More importantly, I’m not an exception. Many of my colleagues can say the same and better, so they choose to do by choosing to teach. Instead of becoming the doctors, lawyers, and engineers, they’d rather create the doctors, lawyers, and engineers. This is a conscious, deliberate choice, not a default from failure.

I don’t intend to flaunt my accomplishments nor peacock my colleagues, but merely to establish once and for all the fact that teachers are professionals who are experts in the field of education. The majority of us are great at what we do. Some are not, and like all professions, we have policies in place to identify, re-train, admonish, or—if necessary—remove them. But the majority of educators cannot and will not continue to watch the mauling and marauding of American youth in the most sacred institution of our nation: the school.

Education belongs to teachers and educators, not lobbied politicians and corporations. Give us back our profession and listen to us. We know what we’re talking about, and we could teach you a thing or two about it.

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