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The future is far away and scary, but today is lovely.

Adrian H. Wood, PhD


This Is Not Education

This Is Not Education

Monday, June 13, 2016 Adrian Wood Comments (0)

I suspect families all over the country have wondered, noted, or voiced their concern of the glaring metamorphosis in education, in private and public schools. Most of us look back on our early school years with fondness though take note of the glaring evidence that history is not repeating itself.

What has happened in our schools?

Ignoring research, best practice and play is the sum of the demise in education today and if you have remained silent then you must now speak. The stakes are too high. They are your children. Parents, teachers, and administrators need to be asking questions and seeking answers, passivity has been shown to be dangerous.

Many stakeholders either don't know or dismiss the proper foundations of learning that have been proved by research countless times in a myriad of ways. How have we so quickly walked away from a methodology that has been proven to be successful? Does play sound too simplistic? Have we all forgotten the audience is children?

If your children are not yet school age, you can not escape this scary truth either. Child care programs are suffering the trickle down effect of common core too. While you may be impressed that your young child can chant his ABC's, count to 100, write his name, this type of coaching has been shown to ensure that he will perform behind his peers that were encouraged to be preschool learners and thinkers.

"The most important competencies in young children can’t be tested—we all know this. Naming letters and numbers is superficial and almost irrelevant in relation to the capacities we want to help children develop: self-regulation, problem solving ability, social and emotional competence, imagination, initiative, curiosity, original thinking — these capacities make or break success in school and life and they can’t be reduced to numbers."

Our schools are filled with awesome teachers that certainly must struggle with the disparage between how they were trained to teach to what they are now being trained and required to disseminate. What choice do they have? Do they feel like me? Grin and bare it? Be quiet or move on? Perhaps though, many voices may halt the momentum that feels like an ongoing tsunami that is slowly destroying our next generation.

"It’s in low-income, under-resourced communities where children are most subjected to heavy doses of teacher-led drills and tests. Not like in wealthier suburbs where kids have the opportunity to go to early childhood programs that have play, the arts, and project-based learning. It’s poverty — the elephant in the room — that is the root cause of this disparity".

To whom play could best serve the best results, it is little more than a pipe dream and I have witnessed the devastation personally. I have been on the sidelines, a helpless witness, to my own weeping sons, just eight and ten years old. My eight year old just last night said, "I'm not good enough." My beautiful boy is far better than that, than any test, yet he feels the pressure and the impending doom of the tests that lurk on his horizon.

When bright inquisitive children ignore repeated parental admonishments about why tests don't really matter, one should question to whose voice they are listening and believing.The anxiety it is not from me or his lovely teacher, but a system of education that values the scores that are not linked to future success anyways. My parenting is not to blame for this chipping away at self-confidence, though my silence as a spectator leaves me as a contributing guilty party. And so, I shall come forward.

Is your school creating nightmarish experiences in the name of education and a race for higher scores?

My answer is yes. My question is what now?

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