Ok, I’ve been pretty terrible about writing this month. I meant to take a full day during break to write but that just didn’t happen. Here we are almost into May.
This morning I was looking though my RSS feeder and saw a post about a film called “Race to Nowhere”. It’s EXACTLY what we need right now as a country. It’s precisely where we are going – nowhere with NCLB and Race to the Top. More testing? Less innovation and creativity allowed for teachers and students? How are they going to cope in the future when they need those skills but all we are able to teach and all they can do is memorize and fill in bubbles?
A lot of this film seems to focus on high school, but I see the same things happening in elementary students. They get anxiety over tests, we have kids that physically get sick during EOGs, they feel like they have to be perfect… Just yesterday I heard a student talking to a teacher asking her questions that she (the student) probably already knew the answer to (she is a smart kid) but she wanted to be positive, no room for messing up. Crazy.
I am thankful that a lot of teachers at my school push the kids beyond the “testing” atmosphere and do such great projects and use new instruments and technology to let them use their creativity and think outside the box. But, that doesn’t take away from how long they have to spend (especially in grades 3-5) practicing and teaching to and FOR the test. They started doing stuff before Spring break. I’m doing practice questions with kids during my intervention block.
Anyway, check out the website. If you’re a parent there is a screening at St. Matthews Catholic Church on May 5 at 9am if you want to see it. Tickets are free. If it had been the afternoon I would absolutely go. There is a clip you should watch on the front page. There are 2 trailers and then a clip called “Unintended Consequences”. One of the teachers in the clips – it’s so evident her heart is breaking over what she sees, what she can’t do about it… It got to me. In a good way.
It’s going to be an important film. Unfortunately, we don’t know who is out there that can really force this change in our government… It’s up to us.
After checking that out here’s another website – End the Race.