I received a letter from the school district over the upcoming ACT Explore Test. It is “a curriculum-based assessment program normed for the eight grade.” It will be given to fifth and sixth graders in March. Okaaaaaay, it’s normed for the eighth grade but given to fifth and sixth graders. (?)
I kept reading: If your child has already taken this test and you’d them them retested, parents may do so through the Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search program. (That’s “BESTS” for short.)
BESTS is a gifted education and talent development agency that identifies gifted, talented and artistic learners, the letter said. And the measure? If the student scored at the 95th percentile on his/her most recent achievement test.
What a narrow myopic way to measure students. I find this very disturbing because it imparts a subtle message to the rest of us (that would be 95%) that we’re not gifted. Yeah…I’m an adult and see it for what’s its worth. But try to explain that to 12-year-old struggling with their self worth. Especially because it’s an uphill battle to earn “C’s”.
Yeah, yeah…. I know they’re trying to find a way to tailor educational plans to help those with academic prowess.
What about the rest of us though?
The educational system has got to be reworked….from the ground up. And I suggest they start with a conviction that John Taylor Gatto developed over his years of working as a public educator.
After a long life, and thirty years in the public school trenches, I’ve concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress our genius only because we haven’t yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves.