Literacy, Test Literacy and Equality

‘The Elements of Literacy” addressed a serious issue with recent changes to the education system. No Child Left Behind is possibly the biggest change to teaching in the past century, it changed the way we access students and standardized teaching methods throughout. I think there are many problems with NCLB, but the biggest issue I have is the way it forced teachers to change their methods. In order to satisfy test requirements set by outside forces many schools have chosen to adapt ¬†Common Core learning which is a huge problem for teachers and students alike. The changes somewhat help lower end students, but severely cripple those borderline advanced students who aren’t confident enough to take AP classes but have the aptitude to succeed in higher education. No longer do teachers get freedom in their lessons, it’s regulated by every kind of committee and board imaginable. It hurts people to enforce standards across a board, but having goals for students to met is necessary. The NCLB and Common Core changes are addressing the Board of Education’s concerns not students.

The metaphorical pissing contest America has with the rest of the world over who is the “best” at everything, has led to wanting quantifiable data to compare with other nations. The easiest way to do this is to make standards to grade students against. Unfortunately this hurts students in the long run, when they try to get a job there isn’t a test they take to apply. You need real skills like interpersonal communication not memorization and regurgitation. Treating students how to be mini-encyclopedias for a few months then forgetting everything they learned isn’t how you prepare students for their future.

Multiple forms of literacy are equally important for living in the 21st century. Social, Cultural and Digital literacy are a must. The ability to infer information from conversations with others is key in the business world and is one of the basic forms of social literacy. This isn’t really taught in schools, instead it is supposed to be “common sense” which for some people it isn’t. ¬†In my mind the problems created in our public school systems are easily solved within those systems but outside forces are retarding progress towards general literacy and imposing testing literacy on students.

My view on literacy stands as the ability to interact and understand concepts across multiple platforms. Without a broad knowledge base across the many facets of living in the modern era, I don’t think you can thrive in this modern world.