I was able to tour a local public school yesterday, one that is built on the notion that different things inspire different children.
I'm looking at schools due to the fact that we will need to start applying for various programs in the fall - and making decisions next spring for that year.
I want to have as much information as possible before making a decision.
My parents felt very strongly about education (and still do). While we moved a lot when I was younger, they always tried to move somewhere with a good school district. Often that meant that my family was on the lower end of the socio-economic scale - but I learned a lot. I received scholarships and assistance to college, - and while my own work was a good part of that, the schools/teachers/community that prepared me ALSO had a great deal to do with my success.
The school I toured yesterday was awesome. I am proud that it is part of my community, and that such schools are supported. It is based around the idea that music, art, science and physical education are just as important as linguistics and mathematics. The focus is on projects and concepts, not on rote memorization.
Tests, of course, focus on the linguistic and mathematical skill (typically).
But just because someone can take a test, doesn't mean they can be successful.
At this school, some of the standardized test scores at this school are lower.
But I am still considering sending my twins there (if we can get in) simply because of the focus on different types of learning and development. I do know some people who did not do terribly well at writing essays or equations, but are tremendous artists, musicians or mechanics.
I firmly believe in this theory - and even can identify it in myself. I was much better at geometry than algebra. I can do algebra and memorize equations, but it doesn't come naturally to me.
My question is why all the schools in this country can't be more dynamic and flexible to the students' abilities and needs. I don't want to suggest that schools do not need to be accountable, nor that they don't need to teach the basics.
But the business of education should be about preparing good people, not good test takers.