David Gamberg is superintendent of the Sourhold district in
Long Island, Néw York. He
understands something
that state commissioner John King
does not. Children are different. They develop in different ways
and at different rates. They have different strengths and
weaknesses. Experienced educators know this. The standard for high
achievement in mile-long races is 4 minutes. Runners tried for
years until 1954, when Roger Bannister
broke the barrier
. Now many runners have, and it is the
standard. Does that mean you are a failure if it takes you 9 or 15
minutes to run a mile? No. Should all children score “proficient”
on a test that was deliberately made so hard that only 30/35% would
“pass”? What about the kids who are gifted artists and musicians?
What about those who can fix things and are great at solving
practical problems? What about those who are English language
learners? Should they “fail”? Should they be denied a high school
diploma? Sure, it is necessary to test kids periodically to see how
they are doing, but tests should be used to help kids and teachers,
not to punish them.