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Letter to the Editor: Accolades may lack proper context

Dear Editor,
Williamson County Schools are patting themselves on the back with higher TCAP scores. I would make the point that it used to be schools were about well-rounded education and not just passing tests, which is what it seems only to be about anymore: Teaching to the test and affecting teacher salaries based on test scores. If it’s not on the test, why spend precious time teaching it? If the test is aligned to one specific textbook/publisher then that is the only book the school wants to use because they will do anything to see a climb in test scores. So, whoever makes the test (Pearson?) controls what our kids learn? It's ALL about the TEST. Can ingenuity, integrity, creativity and good citizenship be taught by teaching to the test?

I used to live in Singapore. Many of those lovely people could knock the heck out of a test but did not want to approach the simplest real life problem by thinking outside of the box. They tested all children in third grade to determine what their future education and career would be, doctor or janitor. A test at eight or nine years of age determined an individual's future. We are headed in this same direction, especially with the implementation of the new national curriculum standard Common Core, which relies even more heavily on assessments than what we have now.

In addition, with Tennessee ranking behind the vast majority of other U.S. states on scholastic test performance, shouldn't Williamson County Schools be comparing themselves to California or Massachusetts instead of the rest of Tennessee if they really want improvement? Has anyone stopped to think that maybe children in Williamson County Schools do so well because they have intelligent, motivated and successful enough parents to live in one of the wealthiest counties in the country? Let's find those counties in our nation that rank near and above us in income and see how our schools rank compared to theirs. How about Santa Clara, Ca.? That would be a more meaningful comparison, if you ask me.

Barbara Sturgeon
Franklin, TN., 37069

Posted on: 8/8/2013


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