The negative aspects of mandatory, punitive state testing are obvious. Teachers on blogs and twitter incessantly lament the stupidity and ineffectiveness of state testing.
Bill Shakespeare, The Beatles, and Steve Jobs all worked tirelessly on their creative craft, releasing ideas that have transformed society for the better. They did not believe in a world of hyperbole; they lived in a world of verbs.
We could whine and cry all day and not change the reality that mandatory testing will be in our education system for a long time into the future. The system is broken and absolutely needs to be fixed. Everyone knows that.
But offering hyperbolic platitudes on Twitter and blogs about how things should be is like preaching sermons on bumper stickers. Catchy and, perhaps, memorable. But not transformative.
The misplaced idealism is depressing.
Creativity, on the other hand, is transformative.
Did Bill Shakespeare whine and complain about the restrictions of the sonnet. Did he Twitter “Noooo, I can’t write a poem in only 14 lines, and have a rhyme scheme, in iambic pentameter, with an octave that poses a problem and a sextet that solves the problem…”
Did the Beatles whine and complain about writing songs that had to be under three minutes? Did they complain about Ringo? (Sorry, low blow…Ringo rocks! Ringo is the luckiest musician in the world!)
Did Steve Jobs whine and complain about CD’s getting scratched and the lack of a stable, elegant computer?
I seriously doubt it.
So now what?
Figure it out!
We can still utilize research based best practices and excellent pedagogy to equip our students for success on state tests and help our students to begin learning about themselves.