America….you just don't get it!

From cbsnews.com Math Tests For Five-Year-Olds?

The experiment could involve tests as long as 90 minutes and change reading assessments for kindergartners through second-graders in the nation’s biggest school system, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration has embraced testing. The approach dismays some parents and educators who see it as mechanizing education.

Show me one piece of research that says a 90 minute test is good for a 5 year old? Heck….show me a 5 year old who can sit for 90 minutes!

The Department of Education unveiled the $400,000 program in an e-mail Monday inviting elementary school principals to participate. About 65 principals have expressed interest, and as many as 12,000 pupils may ultimately be involved, said James Liebman, the department’s accountability chief.

Let’s see why would principals be showing interest in testing Kindergardeners? HHHMMMM……I wonder…..$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

…going beyond No Child Left Behind requirements. For each of the city’s more than 1,400 schools, third-grade through 12th-grade test scores factor significantly in letter grades – which can earn principals bonuses or jeopardize their jobs.

And you wonder why you can’t find people to teach in inner city schools.

The school grades and stress on test scores anger some parents and teachers, who say classes are being drained of creativity and reduced to drills on how to ace standardized exams.

Dear Policy makers….please read A Whole New Mind by Dan Pink. Thank You!

The rise of testing in No Child Left Behind’s wake has caused contention nationally. Some studies show students’ math and reading skills have improved, but that schools have cut back on history, music and other subjects.


Seriously….why is this a shock to anyone? We still have an 8 hour school day and we can only teach so much. If we’re going to teach more math and reading than something has to give.

And to think that at one point in my life my wife and I packed up everything we owned into a storage unit and drove to Albany, New York to find jobs. Lived out of our car and a tent for three weeks with no luck before driving back to Washington and getting jobs in Aberdeen and Westpoint.

What’s the reason for this? Really we need to know where kids are in their reading and math? I mean, teachers can’t and haven’t been doing that for…..like……ever?

Here’s the thing….do we really want America to be like China? Why is America so scared? Yes they have low cost labor…is that what we want? Do we want America to be that country? Do we want America to be the country where you can make a pair of Levi jeans for $4? If so then make sure our students know how to stand in a line, read, and rework numbers.

According to the latest patent stats of 2006 which is the last full year we have stats on:

Applicants from the USA: 390,815 applications

Applicants from China: 128,850 applications

That’s 3 times the patent applications. America needs to understand that it’s place in this new economic flat world is not trying to compete with China but instead being the brains, the thinkers, the creators of the products that China produces. America will never be able to compete with that labor force, but they will be able to compete with their minds, their ideas, their creativity.

That is if there is any creativity left.

This is so interesting….as I can remember at least three different times that I sat down with heads of Chinese schools, people looking to start private Chinese schools, or Chinese school looking to improve their education. I remember sitting and talking about the American system and how we focus on getting students to think different, we encourage them to think, to analyze, to question their findings. We teach them to learn on their own.

There is one man who I remember particularity clearly who wanted to hire me to come help him set up a private school in a province south of Shanghai. He was a wealthy man and he wanted to build a school focused on technology and thinking. His grand daughter lived in this city where he wanted to build the school, because he felt it was the only way she was going to compete.

“She must understand how to think.”
he told me.

So here America is trying to compete with Japan, S. Korea, and the China’s of the world and they are the ones looking at our systems to create thinkers, creators, and inventors.

America can not compete by testing their kids smarter. America will never be able to complete by testing down their kids to the basics.

Screw the basics! We need thinkers!

The issue is (and yes…now I’m on my soap box) that Americans are bombarded by reports of China doing this, and China doing that. China grew by 200% in this and 400% in that. The news is America’s worst enemy. Of course China is on fire. They’ve gone from riding bikes to driving Lamborghinis in about 15 years time! There growth rates should be off the charts and America should be celebrating that they had a part to play in helping the Chinese to open up, to modernize…and now they’re scared of it?

You will not be able to compete in a global soceity if you are scared.

You will not be able to compete in a global soceity if you don’t understand your role as a nation?

You will not be able to compete in a global soceity if you do not educate your younger generations to be globally minded, open to new ideas, and give them the abilty to learn, unlearn, and relearn in a fast pace world.

Trying to compete head on with a nations 4 times your size is a garenteed loosing battle. It’s a typical David and Goliath…America must think smarter, not bigger.

(Stepping off my soap box now and going to bed)