Reading & Reacting: Reframing the Purpose of Education

Photo: Teacher Jesse Hagopian

Screenshot from clip of Jesse Hagopian on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry
[Click for video]

By Jesse Hagopian @ MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry show

Surprisingly, I have never used a video in one of these Reading & Reacting posts, but this one seemed a worthy inaugural piece. As the whole NBC corporation seems to be a platform for edreformy types to advance their agenda, it was nice to see an actual teacher have a say about some of these issues.

Seattle history teacher, Jesse Hagopian strikes a nerve in the studio audience and many who will watch this video, when he talks about testing. What a great opening line for the clip.

Teachers invented testing. So I am not against testing…What I am against is the inundation of our classrooms with standardized testing. It’s gotten out of hand.

The applause interrupts his speaking, providing some significant evidence of how much support he was receiving. I suspect a lot of teachers that watch the clip might feel compelled to clap too.

Of course, Hagopian’s money line is this.

We need to reframe what the purpose of education is, because I think it is not just about career ready and college ready. I think its about solving real-life problems in our world.

And it is on this point, he deserves universal acclaim. There is nothing about standardized testing, or the ranking and sorting associated with it, that even remotely prepares students for solving real-life problems. In fact, there is a large, growing body of evidence that suggests it may do quite the opposite. One need only look at a place like England. It has already gone through many of the misguided reforms so many of our policymakers find alluring. Their equivalent of our public schools are worse for it and sliding further down all the league table international testing lists. While England is not the same as the United States, by any means, they provide a kind of crystal ball view of the path we are currently traveling.

Image: iPad

posted via
and flipped to Teaching Today

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