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NCLB Outrages

A Florida Parent Speaks Out

This parent observes, My experience watching David completely misread the question the other day has me thinking that this would be a very timely topic for some researcher somewhere. I would love to see a study that somehow measured how this regimen has affected the way children think and approach problem solving. We could be creating an entire generation whose critical thinking skills will be impaired.

Yesterday, my fourth grader grew frustrated while trying to answer a question from a worksheet based on an issue of Time for Kids. The question referred to a brief article about the amount of time children spend watching television, playing computer games and doing other similar activities.

It was a pretty straightforward question, something like: "How much time do you spend playing video games?"

David was about to give up. "Itís not in here anywhere," he said, scanning the article for a third time.

I looked at him to see if he was joking. He wasnít. "David, theyíre asking about YOU," I said. "Were you interviewed for that article?"

"No, Mom," he insisted. "You have to find the answer in the story." He was completely serious. I argued with him a bit more and he grew more frustrated. He told me that I didnít understand. He was certain that the "you" in the question had to be sort of a generic second-person query that really referred to "children" as described in the article. He knew the drill, having spent the bulk of the school year churning out FCAT worksheets and practice tests.

David is a bright kid and an excellent reader. But in the context of filling out the TFK worksheet, he was completely on autopilot. He wasnít even reading the stories, just scanning them for the answers he needed. There was a time when he would have picked up a publication like that and read it out of curiosity.

I canít help but think that this regimen is hurting our kids in ways we havenít even figured out yet.

— Pat Dunnigan
Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform


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