What does it mean to be well-educated? 4
Today’s climate in education puts teachers, parents, and children under the microscope. Researchers, evaluators, policymakers are all trying to contribute and improve the system we call education. But what does it mean to say that someone is well-educated? In a world that is so diverse and ever changing? How can we improve this experience of being educated without stifling creativity and innovation? How can we measure being well-educated without narrowing it down to “right or wrong” answers? In today’s world, our future leaders, workers, artists, entrepreneurs, our scientists, and the risk-takers need to be critical and creative thinkers in order to manage the inventions of yesterday so we can invent for tomorrow. Eisner’s (2001) article titled “What does it mean when a school is doing well?” provides a glimpse of the standardized movement from the earlier stages. He questions whether the the reform movement is addressing the deeper problems of schooling. And whether or not the assessment strategies being taken up actually provide a glimpse of a well-educated person, stating that students are interpreting being well-educated means you have a certain test score. But is that really a true measurement of being well-educated?
Today, I rec’d our daughter’s standardized test scores – and I have to admit, I was curious to see how she scored. When I reviewed them I wasn’t surprised. She scored just how I thought she would. The test didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know about my daughter regarding Math and English/Language Arts. It’s a shame we spend millions of dollars to confirm what we already know. What a waste of resources.
And what’s even more disturbing to me is that her test scores somehow are suppose to be tied to the school(s) that she currently attends (even though she’s been homeschooled and sent to two other schools prior to this one). I do think that the influence of her teachers in her short time in schools have helped her pass this test, but I don’t believe it’s the teachers or the school that influence her most….I think it’s how she takes in the world and processes it. And how she understands the world can’t be narrowed down to these tests scores. These numbers don’t tell anyone how well-educated she is —- all they tell you is that she’s either keeping up with the Jones’ — surpassing the Jones’ —- or she’s not. And is that what we want to teach our children – do we want to teach them “to keep up with the Jones’?”
I personally want my children to think outside the box – to do something different than the Jones’
I think everyone should be helping their children to be different – to break the mold – and to strive for their own personal excellence. Live, love, and laugh – you get to live your life once, live it well – in peace – and hopefully leaving this world a better place than you found it due to your unique contribution!