By John R. Alston Trotter, EdD, JD
Y’all give me a few [hours, minutes, days…but not weeks or months or years!], and, Lord willing, I’ll kick you out a good article (heck, do I write anything but good articles? Ha!) about how stupid the standardize testing mania is. I have been railing against this false god of standardized testing orally and in writing for over 30 years. That’s right! I have been on its case like stink on sh-t from the Jump Street. I may be a “Johnny,” but I am not a “Johnny-come-lately.” The famous (or, “infamous”) Vince Lombardi had a very well-known saying: “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Well, standardized testing makes imbeciles of all educators. It has educators (and, “educrats” in particular) acting like locked-in trunk monkeys…jumping from seat to seat and window to window. All this No Child Left Behind (NCLB), Race To The Top (RTTT), Quality Basic Education (QBE), Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), and Criterion-referenced Competency Test (CRCT), etc., ain’t worth aa S-H-I-T when it comes to preparing our young people to cope, overcome, and prevail in the real world. The theme of American Public Education (APE)…Monkey Feet To The Future!
Coach Vince Lombardi would be considered too “crazy” to be allowed to teach and coach in American Public Education (APE) today. Just think of the genius that our kids would miss out on! Wow. The standardized testing of children and the standardized curricula and standardized pedagogy are monkey-stupid. Chimps can be trained to jump through hoops. Our teachers and our children are not Chimps; they are humans, and American Public Education (APE) is ignoring, stifling, and brutalizing any of their creative talents and capabilities. We need to take the monkey business out of American Public Education (APE). The cheating scandals in Houston, Texas under Rod Paige, in Atlanta, Georgia under Beverly Hall, and, it looks like in Washington, D. C. also under Michelle Rhee are just the tips of many educational icebergs! And to think that Paige, Hall, and Rhee have used this monkey-business to promote their careers on some “Super Star” level is enough to make you want to chew tobacco!
Y’all give me a few…I don’t just write articles all day. I have children and others in my life to take care of and give attention to. (Note that I just ended this last sentence with a preposition. Why? Because I wanted to. Did it again, right? Ha! Creative, baby, creative!)
Oh, by the way, the standardized, industrial type schooling process used to bore the crap out of me. But, my father was a school principal, and I didn’t have much choice but to stay on the straight-and-narrow. But, just think about the poor children who don’t even have a father around. We need to free up our educators so that they can be creatively empathic with our children! In this type of environment, all children can and will thrive!