Two “Critical” Questions

As we consider our children and their future, I believe we must answer the following two “critical” questions.

Critical” Question #1:  How do children learn?

Critical” Question #2:  When (at what age) is it appropriate to assess whether a child is capable of showing mastery of any skill or concept?

My heart as a mom and educator is to encourage everyone to pay attention to our “guts”, the instinct we have in knowing our children and what sparks their curiosities.   I would also like there to be a call to examine the brain research and compare this to how and when we are determining what children know and are capable of doing.

Need we set a “rigorous” standard of having all children walk by six months old?   Does walking at six months old determine their potential to be a professional athlete?   Some children do walk by six months old.    Does this set the bar in forcing all children to walk at six months old?  This is obviously ridiculous… correct?

Using the above analogy helps to reveal how children are being pushed beyond their developmental capacity in the name of “rigor”.    Children turn six at some point during their kindergarten year.  The average age to begin reading is 6.5.  However, the expectation is ALL children shall read by the end of kindergarten according to the common core state standards.  Those that don’t read by the “standard’s timeframe” end up in remedial classes the following year.  Already earmarked as “behind”. This too, is ridiculous.

We need to step back and read what the current research says about brain development.   A few years ago the math specialists in my school district were led through a book study around, How the Brain Learns Mathematics, By David Sousa.   A few short years later, the Common Core Standards came in full force followed by the SBA (Smarter Balanced Assessment).    The SBA is filled with questions requiring children to reason at a deep levels, make comparison analysis of text, and has them sitting for up to five hours in one day.

I’m confused.  Are you?

The brain research is clear.   The frontal cortex of the human brain carrying the ability to reason is not solidified until 12 years old.

Yet, the big bucks come in, non-educators set our standards for our children, the testing industry flourishes and profits, and our youngest are being asked to perform at levels their brains aren’t ready for.

May we stop this cycle and answer the two “Critical” Questions?

Why?

Because our children need and deserve us to provide them with a powerful education that breeds: curiosity, imagination, and innovation.   My goal for our students is they fall in love with learning.  My goal is seeing them banging on our classroom doors in the morning with eager anticipation for the day ahead.

Will a high stakes test measure these things?

“Give a child a fish, they eat for a day.   Teach the child to fish, they eat for a lifetime”

May I suggest the children who fall in love with learning and are allowed to explore their interests in an environment that fosters their natural curiosities…. and I have no doubts and believe….  these ARE the children whom will achieve anything their hearts are set on and will fill our colleges to the brim.

Passionately Submitted,

RAZ ON FIRE

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6 thoughts on “Two “Critical” Questions

    1. Dear ddermady,

      Thank you for staying informed and visiting this page. We must continue to crusade for our children and network across our national. ALL children deserve the best education, innovation, creativity, and the love of learning.

      -Raz

      Like

    1. Hi GatorBonBC,

      I’ve often written about the analogy to Hunger Games. My title is about capturing the idea! I’ve never put it into my blog as a full write up. Great job. You’ve inspired me! I will reference your write up on my menu bar. Stay tuned! -Raz

      Like

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