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A poetry-inspired rant

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Leaden-Eyed, by Vachel Lindsay

Let not young souls be smothered out before
They do quaint deeds and fully flaunt their pride.
It is the world's one crime that its babes grow dull,
Its poor are ox-like, limp and leaden-eyed.
Not that they starve; but starve so dreamlessly,
Not that they sow, but that they seldom reap,
Not that they serve, but have no gods to serve,
Not that they die, but that they die like sheep.

It's standardized test-taking season in the Clark County School District. Our students will be seated in rows for hours at a time, bubbling in answers. Entire school days are devoted to nothing but testing. Did you know that there's not one study that has shown a correlation between high school exit exams and future success, in college or in the world? Not one. Yet we spend huge amounts of money on these tests. Who benefits?
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    I always thought those were great for naptimes and making clever picutres with the bubbles.

    Oh, and btw...LOVE LOVE LOVE the new background!!!!
    2900 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/10/2010 11:21:49 PM
    Fabulous! Don't even get me started on my rant because it ends with 'cannon fodder.' The disservice we are doing to young minds is unpardonable.
    2902 days ago
    Yargh...I'm not an education professional or expert by any means, but even I can rant about the public school system. At least when I was in school, it seemed like actually ~thinking~ was discouraged. There were a few excellent teachers who were exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, we were expected to sit quietly in rows and spit back the information we were fed: no analysis, no debate, no intellectual curiosity, just garbage in/ garbage out. And sadly, the expectations of what we were to learn were so LOW. *Sigh* Maybe it's just because I lived in a poor, rural area, but I felt like I could have seen a much better return on the time I invested in sitting in a classroom. Unfortunately, with the emphasis on testing that's emerged since my school days, it seems like we're heading even more in that direction. Boo.

    And don't get me started on my foreign language rant! (Short version: We should learn more of them, and earlier.)
    2902 days ago
  • LV4TAY
    The studies have been done, and all they have found is that exit exams reduce the amount of diplomas being handed out, period. That's the only difference the tests have made. They hurt many, and they help no one except those who benefit financially from the testing industry (McGraw-Hill, anyone?) and those who are trying to "prove" that public education needs to be taken over by corporations.
    2902 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/8/2010 11:39:58 AM
    I'm with you. Love the poem. Hate the system.
    2902 days ago
    My wonderful wife is a retired Special Ed (and whatever other subjects were needed) teacher... don't even get started about the whole testing topic :(
    It's like they think that testing will somehow magically yield Education?
    2902 days ago
    Love the poem. I agree with you I think that we are now only teaching the students what they need to past all the test they have to take in any given school year. It is bad for self-esteem. I was always under the assumption that test were only meant to be a gage for the teacher to know what the students knows and understands and what might have to be readdressed. The school district I work for just finished the first round of high school exit exams which students start taking in the sophomore year of high school. Maybe they will someday have studies that show whether or not these test do any good other than stressing the students out.
    2903 days ago
    Great poem. I remember stressing out for these tests and they never even made a difference in my life as a whole. Good blog.
    2903 days ago
    It makes the AMMISH system of learning seem so efficient. Learn 2 languages by 1st grade, learn basic math skills (to be able to run road side business fruit /veg stands), learn to READ , out of school at 8 th grade and into vocational training/real life skills for the next several years and you know how to take care of yourself, your family and your community. No frills , as for testing.....You don't need any... if you are stupid the whole world will know soon enough and you don't need a piece of paper to tell you.

    By the way I loved the poem , and your incite. emoticon
    2903 days ago
    I did horrible on my exiting test lol It made me feel really bad about myself for a long time. Also I put off state college because of it and did junior college for way too long. Come to find out state college was easier.
    2903 days ago
  • ELLENB10
    I was reading essays on education reform this week, and on what our kids REALLY should be learning in school. It's a shame that these tests and their scores hold so much power.
    2903 days ago
  • SHERYLP461
    Ih don't get me started on this one! I'll rant all night
    2903 days ago
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