Howe spoke about with standardized tests in the school system. “Standardized tests mean the schools must focus the curriculum on what the government wants to the detriment of other areas that maybe important.”
The following are problems with standardized test that he has discovered by talking to people in the education field:
Teaching to the test is an increasing problem, because teachers are afraid of losing their jobs.
Teachers cannot create curriculum that is creative and personally relevant to their students.
Because of the extreme focus on reading and math, subject such as art, Physical Education, social studies and science are neglected.
It lessens the flexibility of teacher.
The bottom line is every student different. Standardized testing does not account for these differences. Standardizing our education does leave children behind. It leaves behind the children that do not fit into the government’s mold of a perfect child. As Howe said, “Each student and situation is different. We should leave the teacher with as much leeway as possible in designing curriculum.”
The problem is not just federal mandates; it is also state mandates. West Virginia is a state run school system. To give an idea of the way the state runs the schools Howe mentioned that there are 937 pages of personnel law that needs to be in hiring and firing people. Howe spoke of talking to people at church and the grocery store, who have serious concerns, and he gets tired of giving the same answer “that’s a state law or legislative rule and we have no control over it.” The most important aras of our lives should be left to the people close to us. When we elect people we trust from our local community to oversee our school system, we should be able to stop them in the grocery store and ask what can do our concerns. The state legislators do not know our children like the people from our communities, the teacher in our, and certainly not like we do as parents. There needs to be more local control of our schools.