What do you value about your child’s education? I believe today’s experience has conditioned us over the last 15 years to value a single test score for our children. The push to ensure all children are succeeding by measuring their success on an SOL test has led to some unintended outcomes. Narrowing the curriculum and teaching to a test are two consequences that have negatively affected our teachers but, more importantly, our children. Unfortunately, the methods engaged to teach to a test have crushed the creativity and innovation that young people need to thrive in our new global economy.
I, like most parents, want my child to have a high GPA, pursue the most advanced courses, and score well on the standards-based tests. But while many of our children graduate with these accomplishments, they often lack the skills needed to be employed in a rapidly changing job market. Skills such as effective communication, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration are at the very heart of what students will need to learn to be prepared for success in today’s world.
I have had the opportunity to research, travel and see first-hand courageous innovators in education that understand there is more to a child’s education then an SOL test. As the instructional leader of our school division, I will share my thoughts and experiences with you. I will share from the most recent book that I read, Most Likely to Succeed, Preparing our Kids for the Innovation Era by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith, which offers parents and educators a guide to getting the best for their children.
I have visited many classrooms in my short time here and have witnessed many wonderful activities. I have also seen the unintended consequences of a test-driven curriculum and systems still in place that were designed over a century ago to produce a workforce that no longer exists. Collectively, we can decide what we value for our children’s education. My vision and hope for our teachers is that they will have the confidence and courage in us as a community to support them as they teach the whole child and incorporate skills we value and know our children need to succeed in their world.