Hello all students! My name ZombieX, I am twelve years old and I am in seventh grade. The purpose of this blog is to allow our generation (a.k.a. America’s future) to express ourselves on the issues of education in the United States and to be informed on this topic regularly. Have you ever noticed that whenever the subject of education is brought up, only the adults have done all the talking? Don’t you think they have done enough blabbering? And they say we talk too much. Wait a second, aren’t they the ones who screwed things up for America? Think about it: global warming, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the economic crisis, the energy crisis, and of course the downfall of education. All of this happened on their watch. Aren’t we the customers of education? Shouldn’t we have a say in our future and America’s future? If you ask me, this isn’t democratic. I don’t know about you but, I value my education very much. It’s about our future. Ask yourself, “Is it worth fighting for?” I say yes! Let’s hear from the kids for a change. What do you think? Please, read my blog and get involved. Enjoy!
I have been in public schools for seven years. That means that I have been oppressed all my life by “The No Child Left Behind Act” (NCLB) signed into law by President Bush in 2002. But really, what does “No Child Left Behind” mean? I think there is something missing because it implies, “left behind what?” A great education? One would assume that’s what they were talking about but I seriously wonder. Personally I believe that all students should be given great opportunities in school for them to learn the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in their lives, jobs, families, and relationships. School should ignite the passion for knowledge. Learning this stuff should also be enjoyable, exciting, and fun for all students in order for them to stay motivated in school.
But what NCLB really means is that no child should be left behind in two subjects based on a multiple choice standardized test. And while we’re at it, let’s make school as boring and as prison like as possible. That’s it. And I can’t believe we’ve made such a big deal about it. We rank schools and teachers–all based on students’ memorization and test taking abilities on mostly Reading and Math. The current book I’m reading is called, “The Zombie Survival Guide.” It should be sub headed, “How NCLB is creating a generation of Zombies.”
So year after year, I participate in the ritual of passing the California Standards Tests (CSTs) in school and every year the format of the tests and testing schedule are the same. The teachers give us candy and pizza parties if we do well. Point of information, Zombies don’t eat candy or pizza. They eat human flesh.
This year though for 7th grade something unusual and remarkable occurred before testing. My principal decided to give a speech that he believed would compel us to do even better on the test telling us about external and internal motivations that we should all have in order to do well. I couldn’t help thinking that this is what my parents’ taxes go for. Near the end of the speech, my principal talked about some test taking strategies and I will never forget what he said: “When you get stuck on a question, guess the letter C.”Are you serious? This is the pearl of wisdom that I ‘m supposed take away from my time at junior high?
Well it does make me think about twelve years in the future when I have a research job on the Hadron Collider and I am about to discover the Higgs Boson particle a.k.a. the “God particle.” So, when I am stuck on a complex formula that may be the key to finding the Higgs Boson, I’ll know what to do; choose the letter C! Yeah right. No wonder America is so messed up. This is what standardized tests are doing to our education, to my generation, and America’s future.
More words of wisdom that my principal shared with the students was called the “process of elimination.” This is a strategy where when you are given a number of answers, you must eliminate answers that are obviously illogical until you have narrowed it to two answers. For example, let’s say there is a math question; 20 times 20 with the following choices: A: 4, B: 400, C: 4000, and D: 50. We can eliminate answers A and D because they are way off., leaving B and C. Luckily, we have my principal’s ultimate technique so we just choose the letter C! It’s that simple!
Now, let’s apply process of elimination to real life. Take the war on terror for example. Thus far, we have eliminated Saddam Hussein, a handful of terrorists, thousands of enemy insurgents, probably tens of thousands of civilians, and of course any chance for democracy. However, we also recently eliminated Osama Bin Laden. We hit the Jackpot.
I suppose the experts would say that this is proof that the process of elimination does indeed work. Maybe we do live in a multiple choice world after all. For those who believe we do and want to test us to death, I choose “none of the above.”