0096: How to Teach the Test: A Guide for Radical Teachers
#education #occupyedu #revolution #school
Public education has been reduced to the narrow teaching of a narrow curriculum by teachers who fear constantly for their jobs. Educators have been or are being rendered powerless by egregious reforms that harm students and teachers. Testing as the goal of education is criminal. It is brainwashing through the systematic dumbing down of an entire generation. The constant test prep and dehumanization leaves untold destruction that we have not even begun to uncover. Our hands are tied. So what can be done? In short, rebel. Tell the truth. Teach the test. Teach about the people who helped make testing a reality. Share the reasons for testing. Share with your students how testing is a tool of class division and community disruption. Tell them how testing has and is destroying people’s ability to think freely. Tell them how test scores are used to close schools and banish committed and caring teaching from public education. Tell them how testing has created a crisis which has opened a market, school privatization, that seeks capital gains. Tell them how the textbook industry starves their brains and provides incomplete curriculum to undertrained teachers in order to sell more remediation. Then teach them the subject matter you’re paid to teach. But, help them learn. Help them learn to learn. Teach them, rather help them learn that they are powerful and have much to add to culture. Instill in them the power to create. Nurture their curiosity. If you teach algebra, teach algebra, not the bastardized Glencoe McGraw-Hill fully aligned version. Teach for the joy of teaching. Help learners learn to crave understanding. Teach the Test as the monster it is. Motivate the students to learn beyond the test, thus crushing it’s power as a tool of class separation and subversion. It’s a beast with which we must reckon daily as teachers, but it’s a beast that we must and shall defeat.
0083: Schools as Guardians of Class Division
#education #poverty #class #slum #edreform
Schools are marketed as beacons of hope. A proper education promises a better future with access to a college education, to riches, a good job, and stuff. This is the carrot we hold before our students to encourage them to work hard. It’s the stuffed bunny at the dog track. The definition of proper education, for sometime now, includes high test scores. Good schools have good test scores, right? No school is exactly performing on par. We’re all looking for some better measure, some alternative for accountability— at least we’re hoping for something different.
But, the problem isn’t exactly as simple as test scores. Education isn’t even the problem. The problem is that “education” the miracle cure is curing nothing. There is no social mobility with schooling. Slums stay slums, and middle class neighborhoods become slums. Schools are of little benefit other than supplying teachers like me jobs. We buy into the system of hope and try to share that hope with our students, but they’re not buying it. Education fails miserably at empowering people to transform their communities and lives. Rather than being a catalyst for empowerment and transformation, schools function as institutions that enforce socio-economic stagnation. They keep the classes separate. People who go to poor schools live, and continue to live in poor communities. Sure, there are people who make it out. They crack the glass ceiling. They transcend class, but that is not the norm. We teach a state standardized curriculum that does little more than bore our precious students and extinguish their curiosity. We kill minds systematically with tests, forced compliance, and meaningless curriculum. If schools were ever doing what they claimed to do there would be fewer slums. Public education, from my vantage, is doing little more than providing the textbook industry with a steady demand for remediation materials.
Someone please correct me of I’m wrong. I need hope.