Thursday, November 1, 2012

Learning to Take Tests

Two recent articles in the NYTimes caught my eye:

After Number of Gifted Soars, a Fight for Kindergarten Slots

and A New Kind of Tutoring Aims to Make Students Smarter.

The first article reports that nearly 5,000 children qualified as "gifted" in New York City this fall, more than double the number only 4 years ago.  It is now routine to prep 4-year-olds for the tests that bring this coveted label.

The second article reports on a booming new tutoring scheme, that aims to raise kids' performance on IQ tests. 

This is what education has become in our country.  It's all test prep, all the time.  It's not about inquiry or experiment or developing real interests or even about learning any particular subject matter.  It's about getting a good score on the test.  What the test measures is hardly even discussed; once a test is out there, the race is on for a good score.  

Education has become a kind of sport.  It's all about competition; sorting winners from losers.

Anyone who truly cares about learning is out of luck. 


  1. It is very very sad. After all the work and advocacy I've done over the years, it does not seem to be getting any better or saner, only worse.

    I'm relieved my daughter is out of K-12. But I shudder to think what she'll be up against when she becomes a mom. Do I advise her to just not have any children? No, of course not...

    This relentless pressure really takes its toll on kids. If you only knew how many of these young people come home from college after the first year, depressed, burned out and disillusioned. It's not something parents advertise. But you hear things all the time. And think of the health risks as these children age. Chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure. And I'm just getting started.

  2. All this pressure and there's no jobs? Just all this pressure and then endless debt. Such debt is the new industries. It would be a joke if it wasn't so tragic.

    I think parents are often told thier kids are "gifted" to quite them and keep them happy. Few will look a gift horse in the mouth.