Join Them

718. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

In a spattering of revolutionary fire, teachers in hotspots across this nation are finally refusing to give the standardized tests. Students are refusing to take the tests. The authorities in each case are moving to punish the teachers and students, to get them back into compliance with the rules. These administrators, teachers and students, like most educators across this nation, know that these tests are impediments to learning. They serve the antithesis of what they purport.

Recently, I had a conversation with an administrator frustrated by the stupidity of the testing regime and the culture of control that it produces. She was angry with herself and her teachers for agreeing to participate with something that they all knew to be wrong. She was angry at the waste of time and energy but mostly at the injustice to the students. She said, “It’s killing them and making us absurd.” When I asked her why she continued to support something that she knew to be wrong she said, “We all need a paycheck. Isn’t that sad!” Yes. It is.

What should we do when we know something is wrong and ill intended? What should we do when finally the few voices, the courageous teachers and students stand up and say, “This is wrong.” If history is correct, most of us will turn away and pretend we heard nothing. History is riddled with stories of people who served atrocious causes and when asked why, said, “I was just following orders,” or, “I didn’t know.” David Neiwert tells the story of a German community adjacent to one of the Nazi death camps. Each morning, the people of the town emerged from their homes to sweep the ash from their stoops and windowsills. They watched each day as trainloads of people entered the camps. They knew that no one ever left the camps. The smoke belched ash onto their homes and heads everyday yet they were horrified when they learned what was going on just a few hundred yards from their community. They claimed to have not known.

They knew. We know. We have known for decades that the forces driving our public education have nothing to do with learning; the testing regime serves the opposite of what it pretends. Finally, some teachers and students are saying, “Enough.” Don’t look away. Join them. They need us to stop pretending that we don’t know..

4 Responses

  1. Good Stuff…I shared this one on my facebook timeline…I will wait to see if any of my “educator” friends on facebook comment…I HOPE that I have opened a can of worms and the crows show up…they talk to each other you know 😉

  2. Are there more worms than crows? Why do we consider ourselves so defenseless? Why did Anne Frank hide? Look what she left behind…

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