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Bonnie Margolin, a teacher in Florida, remembers a time before No Child Left Behind. She remembers when politicians did not tell teachers how to teach. She remembers when teaching was far more and different from preparing to take tests.
We are now trapped in The Testing Games. Like The Hunger Games, the odds are never in your favor.
“The obvious comparison is the idea that education is some form of competition. We know this concept is a popular one, just based upon the fact that our own US President named his education reform, The Race to the Top. In this race, states are encouraged to create education policies based on test scores. Student promotion, teacher evaluations, and school grades are all based on test scores. Funding is then tied to the student achievement. In simple terms, how well the students race decides how much money the schools get in funding.
“Talk about pressure on children. Walking into school on these test days is eerily as overwhelming to students as the anxiety felt by the young warriors headed out to fight in The Hunger Games. While our students “test for funding”, the warriors in the film had to fight to win food for their district. Just as our students know low test scores can cause them to be retained or to drop out, often ending their academic lives, the young warriors in the movie knew they were also in a fight for their lives.”
She volunteers to take the tests in place of her students. No dice. How about in place of her daughter? She awaits an answer from President Obama. Please, sir?
No answer. She writes that teaching is akin to The Hunger Games. Take the test. Race to the Top. Compete. Win or lose. If you lose, your school loses funding. if you lose, you are damaged goods.