When we allowed schools to primarily become the laboratories of delivering academic content in some measurable way (and, for some reason, only some academic disciplines seemed to count), we made less of schools than what they should be and less of the people who serve students and families.
Schools can and should teach...
- Social and emotional skills needed to effectively navigate life's rough waters.
- Fundamental tenets of ethical behavior and responsibility, in preparation for civic service/participation.
- Technical skills necessary to gain and maintain gainful employment in life.
- Academic prowess that is used to continue to learn and achieve self-chosen goals throughout life.
- Skills to think critically and discern thoughtfully the nuances between fact and fiction, in order to make seasoned judgements about how best to live one's life.
It is probably obvious that most of those things listed above cannot be easily measured, and they certainly cannot be measured by a multiple-choice test. Even the things listed above that can be measured are not best done so once a year, but rather, everyday. And, those measures should be used as guides to next steps in the learning process, not to label or stigmatize a child, a teacher, a school, or a community.
A marvelous example of this approach to schooling is Guthrie Common School District in Guthrie, Texas. The framework for schooling used there is the Guthrie Graduate Profile.
I am MOST thankful that all my grandchildren attend that school. Every child should be so lucky.