No Child Left Unbored
Destroying the love of learning, one kid at a time
While the "No Child Left Behind" act may be well-intended, the obsession with standardizing education through rigorous measurement may have unintended effects on the ultimate source of all education: the love of learning.
Teachers are pressured to "teach to the test," leaving little time to come up with creative ways to make learning fun. Art and music are gone. Science gets squeezed out. There's still P.E., but no P.E. teachers or prep time. Free reading — forget about it. There's little room for anything but grammar and math.
The curriculum moves in lock step with the program, regardless of the level of the classroom. As a result, classes of disadvantaged children are truly left behind, because they never get the satisfaction of learning one topic before moving to the next. Kids learn failure, regimentation, conformity, test-taking skills, and the idea that learning is a dull, dreary affair.
The standardized tests and workbooks often contain ambiguous, poorly-written questions, sometimes forcing kids to guess which of multiple correct answers the test designer had in mind. By outsourcing education to bureaucrats and testing companies, we're giving children the educational equivalent of the junk food they're served in the cafeterias.
If given free time, the children are actually at a loss for what to do with it. In today's educational system, there's little room to cultivate creativity, exploration, fun, or the joy of learning. Teachers, feeling stressed and disrespected by the system, often end up leaving the profession. And seven-year-olds walk around like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders.
We should be a nation of creative thinkers, not just rote learners. Let teachers teach. Let kids be kids. Let learning be fun. And if the federal government can't help, let them stay the hell out of it.
FairTest.org has a number of resources on this topic, as well as an online petition.