Op-ed: Are schools educating students or teaching for test?

By Robert Hoffman, guest columnist

Bluebonnet News recently published Senator Robert Nichols’ article “My Five Cents” where he comments about the current status of issues discussed by legislation. He focuses on education and improving schools in Texas, yet many school districts continue suffering from poor student performance.

Notwithstanding the newest school accountability scores, what do they truly measure? Can school districts simply classify students by scores on standardized exams? With the most advanced examination methods and the most innovative technology in the classroom, have human potentials and learning tremendously improved the past 50 years? Or do school districts and their employees simply teach how to pass a test?

Does quantitative measurement honestly assess learning reliably? Since education deals with humans in an ever changing dynamic system, will numbers even approach revealing children’s talents and human potentials? Although schools strongly push success in mathematics and science, what about the creative, affective domains, such as the arts, music, and theater?

Have the districts forsaken a holistic approach to developing children? How can schools help children progress into a higher humanity that looks at a space explorer with equal weight as a philosopher and musician? What types of instruction and education produce young men and women with benevolent, high morals and altruistic qualities towards bettering the human race?

Perhaps legislators need to reflect about the long term results about quantitative methods to evaluate and improve education. Fund more money? Employ more technology?
Obviously, the results from the past 50 years show limited benefits at best.

Life, in all of its fullness, means human potentials realized. Now, how do we begin?

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