Struggling with weight for my entire childhood, I have done almost every type of diet that I could think of to shed pounds (and failed). For the last eights years though, I have finally found a balance in my life and have stayed fairly healthy (no one is perfect!) for a consistent period of time. Hearing about all of these “education reform” policies happening in the United States, it reminds me of a bad diet.
Standardized testing and judging teacher quality solely on test scores is similar to focusing on a strict diet for the sole purpose of losing weight. You might hit your goal (your weight or your test score) but what happens when you do? When you are so focused on the goal, the journey doesn’t seem to matter. It is like the “juice” diet. It might get your to your goal weight, but after that, are you a healthy person? Will you maintain that diet once you have hit your goal?
More importantly, what happens when you don’t hit your goal weight? Will you feel like a failure while also not having developed any healthy lifestyle habits? I know that I can always be better, but the reason I have kept off my weight for such a long period of time was that I did not go on a diet. I made lifestyle changes that I can consistently maintain. I exercise regularly, eat healthier than I used to, while also ensuring that I maintain balance in other areas of my life (music, reading, social activities, etc.).
Should we not take this same approach with our kids in school? Should we not be more focused on caring about them and teaching them to be confident, respectful, thoughtful, and passionate about what they do? Should we not try to encourage an educational balance? When you are so focused on a few things, what essential human nutrients are we cutting out of the diet? Music? Art? Play? Physical Education?
My belief, is that if you can help a student develop these healthy types of habits, their results will inevitably increase as well. However, I also believe that if they don’t hit the measure that someone else has determined to be “acceptable”, we will have still helped them develop tools for them to be successful in what THEY ultimately believe is important to them. They will follow their passions and dreams. Schools need to be the place where this spark needs to be ignited. Ignited BECAUSE of school, not in spite of.
Should we not be focusing on healthy education lifestyles instead of standardized diets? I know where our school is going to be focused. How about yours?