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TESTING, TESTING The NYT

Filed at 3:31 am under by dcobranchi

TESTING, TESTING The NYT profiles a FL kindergarten teacher who is hanging up her fingerpaints due, at least in part, to the mandated tests.

Ms. MacLeish, 53, sent a letter home saying this would be her last year teaching kindergarten. It was no ordinary goodbye letter. Ms. MacLeish was m-a-d. Her tears were not pink [i.e., happy]. She fears that the kindergarten world she knows and has raised to a fine art is being destroyed. “A single high-stakes test score is now measuring Florida’s children, leaving little time to devote to their character or potential or talents or depth of knowledge,” she wrote. “Kindergarten teachers throughout the state have replaced valued learning centers (home center, art center, blocks, dramatic play) with paper and pencil tasks, dittos, coloring sheets, scripted lessons, workbook pages…” This year, for the first time, Ms. MacLeish had to spend two days giving state tests to kindergartners to establish base-line scores.

There is a point at which standardized testing becomes counter-productive. Two days of tests in kindergarten may have passed it. I’m still not even convinced that early academic training is always useful or even appropriate. Our younger daughter was ready for it at age 5 (she’s an insatiable reader at 6). I’m not sure our younger son (who’s an insatiable PS2er) will be.

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