Yesterday, I wrote about the insane New York policy of high-stakes testing for kindergarten students. While the harm inflicted on the students is not funny at all, this bit did amuse me (boldface mine):
Teachers said kindergartners are bewildered. “Sharing is not caring anymore; developmentally, it’s not the right thing to do,” said one Queens teacher, whose pupils kept trying to help one another on the math test she gave for the first time this fall.
You can imagine a classroom full of those little chairs and tables, with some perplexed kid getting frustrated with the test–and then her friend wanders over and starts to help her, completely ignorant of the concept that she isn’t supposed to help her. Because we like helping! Little kids at their best. It cracks me up.
Then you remember just how important those lessons can be:
Through interviews with surviving children, sources said, investigators learned that some of Soto’s students were holding hands in the far right hand corner near the chalkboard, away from Lanza’s initial line of fire. When Lanza stopped firing because his gun jammed, [first grade] student Jesse Lewis yelled for kids to run. Lewis was shot to death. Six of the children ran past Lanza to safety.
When parents are surveyed, “developing strong morals and ethics” ranks very high in terms of what they want schools to do. There’s a lot to be said for teaching kids how to be ethical citizens as opposed to just meritocratic test-takers. Someday, your life might depend on that.