Scarcity of Humane Values in Educational Policies
Category : Education
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Scarcity of Humane Values in Educational Policies
Frequent high stakes testing, hours of test prep drills, large classes and reduction or elimination of art, music and P.E. are taking their toll on both students and teachers. School counselors have reported an increase in A.D.H.D., anxiety, depression and other psychological problems among students. Parents have reported that as early as elementary school their children are starting to hate school and are turning off. Many students are bored and stressed out from the constant pressure to perform on high stakes bubble tests.
Children begin school with a natural curiosity and intrinsic motivation to learn. Learning should be an enjoyable process which stimulates student imagination, creativity, ability to think for oneself and the ability to solve problems that have more than one right answer. This type of learning experience will prepare students to become well-informed and productive members of society and to work in good careers in the future. Many current educational environments are breaking the spirits of students and teachers and are turning off intrinsic motivation to learn and teach.

Many wealthy and powerful individuals (and organizations) with little or no teaching experience are influencing educational policies which are destructive. They are in favor of frequent high stakes testing, large classes, closing public schools and reducing courses in the arts except when it comes to their own children. Their children usually attend private schools with small classes, health support services, plenty of courses in the arts and little or no frequent high stakes standardized tests with hours of test prep drills. This is hypocritical and inhumane.
Children need to be emotionally healthy to live successful and fulfilling lives as adults. Development of their emotional and social intelligence are important if they are to grow into fully functioning adults with humane values. Values such as kindness, caring for others, love, integrity and compassion make us good human beings. Students will learn these values from the example of adults and by the way adults treat them. The way many students are being treated is lowering their sense of self-worth, diminishing their creativity, blocking their potential and teaching them to be less compassionate and empathetic.
Teachers should be allowed to teach and create their own lesson plans based on the curriculum that they are teaching. They need time to teach students to think for themselves instead of spending hours doing test prep. They also need time to collaborate with other teachers.

There are schools which are excellent models of education such as the one in Finland. Instead of modeling our education system after successful ones, the U.S. is following in the footsteps of educational systems like the one in Chile which is a  free market  disaster.
The changes that are needed for a great education system will not come from the top down until there is enough action and pressure from the bottom up. Students, parents, teachers and school administrators will need to protest in large numbers before the PTB will make necessary changes. An example of this occurred recently in Texas. Mothers who were angry about all of the high stakes testing convinced the state politicians to take action. They voted to reduce the amount of yearly standardized tests from fifteen to five.