All Riled Up Again

Lorda mercy. It seems by now I would’ve learned not to get so riled up about things. Seems I would have figured out that I can’t change all the things I think need changing in this world. “Take a break, Lisa, let the young mothers do it,” a close friend told me last week as I ranted on and on about the problems in education.

There’s a woman in NY who I follow on Twitter. She really gets going about 9 or 10 at night. This woman is my ‘hero’ when it comes to education. Not only is she about my age and still fighting – which is a rarity – but she’s also creative in how she approaches solutions. I love that about her.

Just now she tweeted about a New York Times article and the content sent me a-spinning again. It referenced the inadequacies in testing. You see, when I applied to Auburn I took two types of tests. One was the ACT, the other was a standardized test to get into the School of Architecture. I squeaked by on the ACT, barely getting accepted into that university. But the other one? I aced it. I was one of the first two women ever admitted into that program.

The architecture exam actually tested the other side of my brain, the creative part. My creativity was deemed important enough to give me a chance.

Oh, people, just imagine if we did that today. Right here in Georgia, at the University of Georgia, we have a world-renown department called the Torrance Center which developed a ‘right-brain’ standardized test years ago. Only our gifted students get to take it to gain entry into the elite programs.

Imagine if some of our troublemakers, or day dreamers took it? Wonder if we’d find their talent warranted a chance at those elite classes? Wonder if ‘those ADD and dyslexic kids’ took those kinds of tests. What if we tested each child to find their gifts and supported those? No, we test to find WHAT’S WRONG with children and then pound in their little heads how poorly they’re performing.

Oh, my blood pressure is zooming. I just don’t understand why we as a society let this continue. Are we too busy to see what’s happening? With all the jobs, careers and colleges acceptances that hang on test scores, why aren’t we demanding they be changed and made more balanced?

If I could change just one little thing before I die, it’d be the way we test and teach our kids. I’d love to see these little right-brain children feel that their God-given gifts were just as important – just as special – as the others’.

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If you feel so moved, join the efforts on FairTest.org and send them a little check to help fund their efforts.

BTW: Did you know that, as a parent, you can legally have your child ‘opt-out’ of standardized tests?  Have you seen the latest list of colleges and universities not requiring standardized tests (Wake Forest, NYU, Univ of Texas among them) . . . they are realizing that they’ve lost many talented kids because of test scores.

Please ignore my grammatical and spelling errors. My talents lie elsewhere!

{ read comments below – in orange }

 

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11 Responses to All Riled Up Again

  1. Jim Osterman says:

    It’s amazing that with all we know about kids that do not test well in the traditional model that at some point we try and force this precious little round pegs into square holes. How many more futures do we wish to derail before they can get going with standardized testing? Thanks Lisa….

  2. lisaweldon says:

    oh, Jim, it makes me crazy.

  3. Georganne says:

    Lisa. Please submit this to Newsweek, Time, the AJC, the NASSP journal. Beautifully written, passionately said- you are SO right!!!! At this point, our nation seems to expect more, test beyond reason and yet we still Mav behind in education!!

  4. lisaweldon says:

    Georganne, it just makes me want to cry. All the parts and pieces are there . . . no one is brave enough (except those few universities) to start the ball rolling. Oh, you wouldn’t believe how much time the Torrance Center spends in Asia. They were featured on the cover of Newsweek Magazine last summer. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/galleries/2010/07/10/creativity-test.html
    The Asians are beginning to recognize the value of training kids to be creative and innovative. The US will be left in the dust if we don’t wake up.

  5. Marion Reyling says:

    It’s not only the stupid questions. The way they are scored is surreal. Read at http://www.lolacrabapple.wordpress.com the blogpost about “The Machine” and the one about the crickets. If it weren’t so serious from so many perspectives, it would be funny.

    p.s. Lisa, I’m at least as old as you. I’ve been researching issues in education for 10 years, railing about the direction we have been going in, and even went back and got my Master’s in Ed & Special Ed. I used to just be upset about it, but I couldn’t string together a cohesive argument about why it was wrong. I believe that has started to gel for me, and I can put together some valid talking points.

    Keep fighting, girlfriend. It’s an important issue, and it ain’t over til it’s over.

  6. lisa says:

    Marion, as someone explained to me a long time ago, it’s like turning a damn battleship.

  7. There is so much wrong with our educational system in this country… but my blood starts to boil when I think about some of the more obvious things.

    And then I calm myself by thinking about the many superb teachers who, despite the system, manage to have an impact on our kids.

    Beyond that, I spend a lot of time, like you… riled up.

    :)

  8. lisaweldon says:

    Yep, our schools are full of good teachers. I just wish we’d allow them to do what they do so well. btw, I read a lot on your blog last night. What a great writer you are! It’s your fault that I stayed up so late last night.
    Here’s for others to enjoy: http://dailyplateofcrazy.com/

  9. Sir Ken Robinson would be proud of you! I wrote a blog a couple of weeks ago about how tired I am of everyone asking me what my son is going to do with an Art History degree. The system is so biased against the free thinkers and creators. I home schooled my kids until high school so they’d have plenty of time and opportunity to express themselves and discover who they are before someone else started stifling it. Those “young mothers” don’t know how much damage is being done, yet. Preach on, Sister!

  10. lisaweldon says:

    YOU HOMESCHOOLED UNTIL HIGH SCHOOL? Friend, you deserved a huge medal. I applaud anyone who does that. It’s so hard yet SO beneficial for the kids.

    My mother asked the same question when I told her I was moving from Architecture to the Art Dept at Auburn. “How are you going to make a living? Paint pictures of Elvis on velvet?” she asked. I’ll never forget. I have done just fine with it. Made myself a respectable living PLUS I’ve been able to work from home while I raised my children. And I still love what I do, 35+ years later.

    Ignore those people asking that age old question. Just smile and hope that THEIR children chose a field that will bring them as much gratification as your son’s.

  11. Here’s the post I wrote about that. http://www.99percentbeauty.com/2012/05/renaissance-men-wanted-liberal-arts.html Thanks for your encouraging words. I will pass them on to him.