The other day, I was involved in an extended online discussion about proficiency and accountability with about 50 people, mostly inside the Beltway. These are big names, people who make decisions that control your child’s life in school. I got more and more exasperated as the various think tank experts waxed on about how and why parents NEED to know how their child compares to children of the same age in other states and other nations. I couldn’t restrain myself. I let fly that I never wanted to know this as a mother and I don’t want to know it about my grandchildren now. What I want to know is whether they are growing up to be healthy, to be thoughtful, to care about others, to shoulder responsibility, to think for themselves, to be good people. The last thing that interests me is whether their test scores are better or worse than children elsewhere.

This reader left a similar comment. Let’s keep speaking up for decency and character, not pointless competition on tests of dubious value. Let’s all think for ourselves.

This reader wrote:

“Here’s my take on school: I don’t care how my kid compares, I care that he grows up to be a decent happy person. It doesn’t matter if he can compete with China, it matters that he’s not a miserable wretch like most of us who grew up in this ugly system.

“Seriously, we have a our priorities all wrong. It’s not about being the best, it’s not about “success”, it’s about having a life full of love and a modicum of joy. Everyone is so busy trying to be a winner that we’re all losing.”