Or not. Do what you think is best. It’s a free country after all.

CreatingLiteracy-RichShoolsforAdolescentsJust read a very interesting rant by one Gayle Forman.  I have opinions on the same subject, Public Education in the United States, but I don’t pretend to be particularly well-informed.

My children are currently being homeschooled by my wife, which situation I am very happy with. They have attended public schools and charter schools in the past. So we are familiar with at least a narrow cross-section of education in our very tiny portion of the world. We chose home school for a variety of reasons.

I myself am a product of public education, as is my wife. I too had some good teachers and some bad. I would go so far as to say very bad and very good. It’s a mixed bag out there, which Ms. Forman is careful to point out.

One of the points that Ms. Forman makes so entertainingly is that standardized testing is bad and that No Child Left Behind is awful. Standardized testing stifles creative teachers by forcing them to ‘teach to the test,’ she says.  And frankly, I agree that teaching to a test is a bad idea. Mostly because it’s cheating if you’re teaching children to pass a test rather than master the skills that are tested therein. Such a teacher is lazily missing the point of their profession.

Ms. Forman cites a wonderful example of teachers who threw such practices into the trash and instead used their creativity and ingenuity to try and teach the actual skills their students needed in innovative and interesting ways. They even wrote a book about it: Creating Literacy-Rich Schools for Adolescents.

Of course, saying that such methods work better than whatever the other teachers are doing is one thing, proving it is quite another. Ms. Forman rose to the task, however, when she crowed about the success of this program.

She proved it by citing standardized test scores which rose in response to the innovative teacher’s methods.

Now why would she do that after castigating standardized testing as harshly as she does? I think it’s because she arrived at the same conclusion the politicians did. If you want to know how well education is being accomplished you must test the recipients. And those tests must be comparable from student to student, so they must be standardized. How else would one do it?

She actually, perhaps inadvertently, illustrates an argument against her position that, generally, teachers are not at fault for the sad state of our public education. As her example so clearly illustrates, teachers with drive passion and creativity can produce students who blow those heinous standardized tests out of the water.

So why don’t they then?