Sunday, April 22, 2012
Undermining Democratic Citizenship in the Bronx Through Relentless Testing
Reports I am getting from teachers, in the Bronx and around the city, and from my own students who do volunteer work in schools, is that test prep is swallowing up all other activities, including after school programs. Students have less and less time to build community and explore their talents through extracurricular activities, be they sports programs, arts programs, school trips or even moments of free play. This not only makes school more stressful, it undermines the relationship building that is the key to successful education in low income and immigrant communities, be it between students and teachers, or between students from different backgrounds. This may be a sound strategy for creating an obedient and demoralized low labor force, but it undermines the power of the schools to shape active citizens in a democratic society. Perhaps that is why so many billionaires fund policies which deluge our schools with tests. Thank you, Gates, Walton, Bloomberg and Broad for trying to insure that the conditions which allowed you to accumulate your great fortunes will last for the forseeable future.