Your eyes will roll back in your head. You will be shocked, dismayed and stunned. Because the truth is that in school, standardized test scores are not really very important.
Google's personnel executive, Laszlo Bock, writes that he receives 2 million job applications annually but hires only a fraction.
He says there is a misunderstanding of what makes people successful. It's not your work history or your grades. Google wants generalists who are clever and curious, who display resilience and overcome hardships.
So, are our schools preparing kids for success? Or are schools hindering children's development? Do our schools encourage talent to blossom or do they tamp down and retard the potential for an explosion of creativity?
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In 1983, Harvard University professor Howard Gardner taught us that humans possess multiple intelligences. Some people are great at math but not at writing. Others have natural musical ability but can't get their arms around chemistry.
Gardner told us that all kids cannot learn in the same way, at the same rate, in the same subjects and cannot be tested in the same way. Yet we have foolishly ignored his teachings.
In 2002, the No Child Left Behind law was enacted. Ever since, we have behaved as if all kids learn each subject in the same way, at the same rate and can be tested with the same standardized tests.
How incredibly wrongheaded. But worse, the current high-stakes testing mania shortchanges millions of our children by inhibiting their creative juices.
The opportunity cost of laser-focus on standardized test scores is immeasurable. It doesn't allow teachers to zoom in on the most salient talents of students because test scores are paramount, above all else, including the child's total development.
So that leads to the question of what do we really want from our schools? Shouldn't we want our schools to place a priority on helping all children develop their most important talents and to encourage and guide them in those endeavors?
But today, teachers can't. A teacher's job should be to help youngsters explore a wide variety of subjects and sharpen interests in subjects that excite and enthuse them. Yet teachers are not allowed.
It is not life-threatening if some kids receive C's in math. Maybe they paint impressive pictures or play piano beautifully. Maybe writing skills are mediocre but math ability is superb.
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. That's life and we need to stop denying this simple truth. Instead of concentrating on kids' weaknesses, let's focus on their strengths.
Journalist Fareed Zakaria's book, In Defense of a Liberal Education, explains that a broad liberal education can unlock human creativity and prepare students for the real world. It's learning about Picasso and Warhol, Locke and Descartes, Marx and Smith, the Galapagos, Persia, Beethoven, Brubeck, trigonometry, calculus, Appomattox, the Crusades, Vonnegut, Freud, black holes, the Constitution, the courts, the periodic table, typing and how to fix a leaky faucet.
There is so much to learn, and so little time.
New York Times columnist David Brooks' book, The Road to Character, describes "eulogy" virtues: kindness, bravery, honesty and faithfulness. Should we also be teaching these?
It is time to stop the enormous diversion of precious time devoted to standardized testing and unchain teachers to create their own individualized exams to determine what's best for each student.
It is so obvious that when we prize the annual standardized test scores as the overriding, preeminent objective, then nothing else is important. In reality, the whole child is the real treasure.