The following is a guest post by Emma Gore, a rising 9th grader. She’d like to add her voice to the chorus of folks wanting to save our schools from the mediocrity of centering on standardized testing rather than a real education. Please respond.
Feels like a Disney Movie
When I was four, I was incredibly enthusiastic to learn and be a part of the schooling process I had heard so much about. When I walked through the kindergarten doors, the handle higher than my head, I knew I was going to change, however unsure how. The people around me, the world, it was all going to change because we were going learn something of substance and value. Simply the fact that we were being educated meant that ourselves, and the world for that matter, would not be making the same idiotic mistakes that people have been making for the past 400 years. Today it’s July 28, 2011, approximately ten years later, and not a day has gone by, where even for a fraction of a second I have not wondered where my idealistic view of education went.
Where is the reality in what we are learning? Explain to me why we learn that John Smith and Pocahontas loved each other when John Smith had recited the same scenario multiple times after other adventures and about other women? Why do we learn that Columbus was a good man who bartered with the Native Americans, when really he had his men disembowel persons who would not cooperate with him. Or why we learn that Lord Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781 at the battle of Yorktown in person, when really he was claiming to be sick in bed? (http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/yorktown.htm.)
Through these formative years, I have spent only one hundred five minutes learning about the war in Vietnam. Clarify to me why we only spent 10 days on World War II, and about 20 minutes on the differences between communism, socialism, and fascism, or why a fair amount of adults still don’t know the differences, for that matter. Why the majority of kids in that class had never heard of the war in Cambodia. Explain why in my civics and economics classes there has not been a discussion about Watergate, or Reagan’s trickledown theory. The preponderance of my educational career has felt like a Disney movie…sugar coated for the convenience of the viewer.
If a five year old knew the truth, she would probably wonder why you tried to hide it in the first place, then maybe ask you to change it . A seven year old might be angry with you for lying to her, point out you are a hypocrite, and might ask you to change it. But I guarantee you a fourteen year old will do all of the above, demand that you change it, and will most likely watch over your every step until you do so.
Teach us truth without your heritage of prejudice and bigotry. Give us full disclosure about what you know so that we can create informed decisions founded on fact and equality. I am adamant that children are capable of carrying that burden, and I am astounded that adults would ever think otherwise. Furthermore, I would like to emphasize that one of the world dilemmas is corruption and blatant deception. However, when adults demonstrate nothing less than that, what can you expect?