Thursday, March 3, 2011

March Madness: 'My name is Luke and I refuse to take your test'

This is a reposting of an article column in the Washington Post yesterday.

March Madness: 'My name is Luke and I refuse to take your test'
By Valerie Strauss

This was written by Timothy D. Slekar, head of the Division of Education, Human Development and Social Sciences at Penn State Altoona, and a parent. This appeared on The Huffington Post.

By Timothy D. Slekar

"I'm inviting you to join a real conspiracy, call it an open conspiracy, with real consequences on millions of real lives. I know that sounds megalomaniacal, but be patient. If we pull this off, a great many will bless us, although the school industry few will curse us. This is about a project to destroy the standardized testing industry... This adventure is called 'The Bartleby Project.'" John Taylor Gatto. (Weapons of Mass Instruction, New Society Publishers 2008)

My 11-year-old son loves the show Myth Busters. From the first time he put two Legos together he was hooked on constructing intricate things (200 piece Bionicles at age 5). He creates Rube Goldberg contraptions and loves animals. He can manipulate through different technologies (Google Earth, iPad, iPod, Facebook, Sims, etc) and he doesn't need instructions because his curiosity enables him to navigate and learn new technologies. He also loves football. He watches the NFL channel around the clock and can give you just about any statistic related to the game or players. This is just a snapshot. A quick glimpse of my son outside the insidious institution we call public schooling today.

I am currently thinking hard about asking my son to participate in the Bartleby Project and to write "I prefer not to take your test" across the top of his state test in March. In Pennsylvania we don't celebrate March Madness. Instead we practice it. March is the month when Pennsylvania schools administer the Pennsylvania State System of Assessments (the PSSAs). The entire school year comes down this one week in March. This is when schools and students across the Keystone State are held accountable. This is the big time. This is what it's all about.

Please read the rest of his column here.

Dr. Slekar will be at the screening of the film "Race to Nowhere" tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the Young Scholars of Central PA Charter School located at 1530 Westerly Parkway. After the film, he will be taking part in a panel discussion of these issues.

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