The layman versus the insightful professional debate often intrigues me. And when it comes to parents thinking that the insane amount of bubble testing we are mandating for our kids is actually a good thing for education, I can easily see why they fall victim to “buying the hype of data”.
As teachers, we are privy to the “insider knowledge” of how assessments actually interact with curriculum… which interact with teaching methodology, which interact with social environment, which interact with student skill sets prior to ever even coming to school, which ultimately culminate into some sort of an equation that translates into real learning (a concoction affected by a host of other factors as well, from parents to culture to resources and so on). Yet, does the layperson (i.e. do the parents) really see and understand the complexity of all this? Probably not so much… which is what makes us the insightful professionals and them, the parents, the laypersons in the first place.
Then again, when I get an oil change and the mechanic upsells me to “high viscosity lubrication fluids” am I a sucker for blindly saying yes or am I wise to listen to the professional who should know more about car engines than I?
And when my roof needs fixing, am I silly to delegate the issue of water sealants to the person I hire or am I to be expected to climb up on a ladder and learn all the elements one needs to know in order to prevent a ceiling leak from dripping down onto my head at night?
At what point should we expect parents to be involved and know that, “Hey, these bubble tests stink!”
And at what point should we expect parents to know, “Hey, we need assessment practices that are more all-encompassing and less prone to trying to reduce the aspects of student-hood into an over-simplification that renders children faceless and talentless if they do not fit nicely into a pre-determined – and almost arbitrary – box… as designed by think-tank PhD. types, no less?”
Where is the line between a diligent, well-informed parent and a naive, how-can-you-be-so-silly-to-but-into-the-standardized testing-propaganda, get drawn?
Should parents trust the child’s schooling to our schools? I say yes and no. Except determining where the yes is and where the no is can be quite a fuzzy thing.
Parents… be informed. To what extent? I say the more the better… but then again, the layperson will never know as much as the insightful professional… but that’s no excuse for simply throwing up your hands, remaining uninformed and buying into the sizzle and not the steak.