Your 5 year old failed a standardized test. Therefore, he is stupid, insane, and doomed to a life of failure.

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I’m going to grab you by the hand and drag you into hell. I am going to immerse you in a nightmare so hideous and horrifying that it will leave you stunned and gasping for breath.

Are you ready?

Alright, imagine a terrifying world where 4 and 5 year old children are allowed to play, explore, and dream. Imagine a dystopia where young kids roll in the grass and get mud on their pants. Imagine what would happen if small children weren’t constantly being measured or analyzed. Imagine an utter and complete absence of overarching “academic standards” for kids that are barely older than toddlers. Imagine the torment of a country that does not provide government facilities to which its citizens can send their tots for curriculum-based instruction. Imagine a netherworld where innocent little kids aren’t tested, or scored, or compared to the “performance” of other kids all over the globe. Imagine — just imagine — a purgatory where your 4 year old develops on his own time, and isn’t hurried along so that he might meet broad “milestones” and “performance standards.”

Can you imagine this? Can you imagine a reality where our youngest sons and daughters don’t emerge from the womb only to be immediately placed in an even more restrictive and confining box — a box which will imprison them for the next 13 or 14 years of their lives?

Scary, isn’t it?

Twist ending: this is the world in which everyone lived, up until very recently.

Somehow, for thousands of years, kids learned and grew and matured, and they did so without modern public schools. The Ancient Greeks produced some of the most brilliant minds in human history, and with nary a pre-K or a “this is what your kid should be doing at this age” parenting book. Against all odds, the great civilizations of the past — whether Roman, or Byzantine, or Ottoman, or Persian — all managed to contribute immensely to the progress of man, without the help of Common Core or standardized tests.

How did they do it?

There must have been some sort of ancient sorcery at work.

How else can it be explained?

I can certainly tell you that I wept when I read this recent op-ed in an Oregon newspaper. A couple of concerned bureaucrats report the “sobering” epidemic of kindergartners underperforming on standardized tests. Apparently, what these youngsters need is for government schools to be more “coordinated” and aggressive in seeing to it that they reach the arbitrary academic milestones imposed upon them by the Department of Education.

But this tragic story is not confined to Oregon alone. Other states are in the midst of a similar crisis.

Indeed, across the country millions of children, kindergartners and older, are “falling behind” and failing to learn at the exact rate and pace required by the government.

It isn’t just that these individual children are doomed — though they certainly are — it’s that we will are all facing the apocalypse if our kids don’t learn to “test better.”

Remember, it isn’t good enough that your child learn to read, or add, or write — she must do it NOW. If not now, then when? Next year? For God’s sake, are you mad? BY THEN IT WILL BE TOO LATE. Think of her college application!

Quick! Suck the fun out of her existence, eradicate her enthusiasm for learning, tie her to a chair and force her to fill out multiple choice questions! She must meet the standards so that her school gets more federal fundi— I mean, so that she will grow up to be a successful and well adjusted person.

Let me explain something about human beings: we are all exactly the same. Our minds are programmable computers, assembled in factories and implanted into our heads. Our children, therefore, can be expected to do everything the same way; learn the same way, act the same way, grow the same way, develop the way. If they don’t, then this is evidence of a systems-malfunction. No worries: stuff him full of drugs until he sufficiently measures up to the universal, preconceived notions of how he is supposed to think and behave.

Some foolish Neanderthals, like this woman at the Washington Post, question the wisdom of testing kindergartners and holding them to State-prescribed “standards.” But these people are anti-education extremists. They wish to return us to the Dark Ages — before government kindergarten and pre-k — back when children, deprived of the guiding light of standardized education, quickly descended into psychosis and cannibalism.

Fear not. These anarchists are fighting a losing battle. These are the unhinged types who conceive children and then don’t even have the foresight to run to Barnes and Noble and purchase a bunch of parenting books instructing them on when their baby “should” crawl, or walk, or eat solid foods.

The barbarians.

They may wish to retain an ounce of freedom and creativity in their own chaotic households, but out here, in civilized society, we are moving past them. In fact, President Obama gave his State of the Union Address last week and once again reiterated his call for “Universal Pre-K.”

Yes, Mr. President. We must get the children away from their parents as soon as possible. And it is not enough for pre-k to be universal — it must be mandatory. But why stop there? I call for mandatory universal pre-pre K, which will be the next step after pre-pre-pre K, which would come right after a baby graduates from mandatory universal nursery instruction. If our children are to compete with the Chinese (surely, “competing” with Asian kids thousand of miles away must be the innate desire of all young Americans ) then we should stop wasting time. I say, let’s administer the first standardized test within 5 minutes of birth. That is, until the Russians give standardized tests to one-minute-olds.

Hurry! No time to waste! If your sons and daughters are to be obedient and useful cogs in the Assembly Line of Modern Society, we have to begin molding them for our purposes as soon as (or even before) they take their first breath.

Maybe, if we keep at it, if we work hard enough, we can create a country where children are no longer troubled with the stresses of being creative and imaginative; where they don’t engage in silly things like art, and sports, and music; where they have no sense of wonderment, or humor, or curiosity; where they can all simply sit still and regurgitate pieces of information onto sheets of paper.

A world where, essentially, that loathsome and inconvenient institution called “childhood” no longer exists in any discernible fashion.

Call me a dreamer if you like.

I suppose I am.

And that’s only because I didn’t spend enough time taking standardized tests in kindergarten.



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520 Responses to Your 5 year old failed a standardized test. Therefore, he is stupid, insane, and doomed to a life of failure.

  1. JCMorrows says:

    Reblogged this on Home-school Mom Musings and commented:
    “Alright, imagine a terrifying world where 4 and 5 year old children are allowed to play, explore, and dream.”
    OK. I’m not wild about the first lines of the article so I quoted the start of the second paragraph. It’s more to my taste anyway.
    Truth: I didn’t even realize our state had gone Common Core until all of this started blowing up last year. Then I realized and took a HUGE breath of Thanks to God that I was able to keep my kiddos from experiencing that particular nightmare!
    If your kids are currently experiencing Common Core and doing well, I am amazed and in Awe of how Amazing they are! Otherwise, you REALLY might want to consider home-schooling. Seriously.
    I haven’t had a chance to check out the entire blog so there may be some things there that I don’t personally agree with but this post had to be shared!
    (I’m also not wildly fond of the ugliness going on right now in the comments on the original post)

  2. Aryka Lamont says:

    I have to agree with you here, Matt. I was a terrible test taker and thought I was stupid for years. Never mind that I have a creative mind. Kids should be allowed to do what they want and not have their lives scheduled to the minute. Let the kids go outside and play, get scrapes and bruises, let kids be kids.

  3. kgreenaz says:

    Gosh, I hate to throw a monkey wrench into the discussion but when is this EVER okay? Not 5, how about 6? How about 7? Surely by 10 they don’t need to have fun, play or think for themselves? Surely by 11 they all learn the same way and can sit still for 8 hrs a day? Surely by 12 they don’t need time after school for playing, reading for fun, relaxing or time with family? When is this EVER okay?!?! This is why I home educate. I never wanted my kids to be told that they were a “fill-in-the-blank” student. I never wanted my boys to WASTE their LIVES learning spelling words that they would forget the next week. Or reading books THEY DON’T WANT TO READ! My boys now read about 2 hrs/day. My 12yo is learning to code Minecraft mods with Java. He also just finished learning linear equations and my 8yo isn’t far behind. He loves algebra. I’m looking at a stack of books my 10yo finished in the past two weeks. I count seven waiting to go back to the library while he’s reading the eighth. Parents – I wish I could wake you up and tell you that it can be different and your kids can LOVE to learn and to be with their family. We aren’t rich and could qualify for food stamps and Medicaid if we wanted to. But, just like with education, we don’t look to the gov’t to provide for us. It’s OUR JOB as parents to give our kids the best chance in life. Not that everyone should or could home educate. But if you can and will, it will be the best thing you’ve ever done. It’s the best investment I’ve ever participated in.

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  5. Ann Monge says:

    I don’t know about the Russians or Chinese, but we have had 1-minute and 5-minute tests for years. It called the Apgar score and as new parents many brag about their baby’s terrific scores at both 1 and 5 minutes. Since my first born, was covered in feces and pretty much the color of said feces, lips blue and not breathing, we were more concerned if he was going to be “ok” not what his Apgar score was which was probably a 1 since he was alive. Today, he’s a functioning, contributing member of society and some members of his baby peer group who had 10’s and 12’s Apgar scores are let me say “not contributing in such a positive way.”

    My daughter who didn’t learn to read until she was in the fifth grade has a masters degree today, but at 11 years old the establishment was “worried” that she would never find her way.

    • Debbie says:

      I was just going to mention the Apgar score, but you beat me to it… Like you, our youngest daughter didn’t read at the “appropriate” age. Since she wouldn’t have passed the then required-to-homeschool tests in our state we just skipped them. (This was over 25 years ago, and we belonged to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association.) She still doesn’t enjoy reading like the rest of us in the family do, but she did manage to graduate at the top of her class in grad school. Imagine that 🙂

    • Pam says:

      You know that that scary ‘establishment’ worried about your daughter because they cared, right? It’s great she’s now completed postgraduate education, but often if a child isn’t reading at 11 there’s something wrong dyslexia, eye problems, neglect, mental illness, ADHD, Autism, etc. As strange as it apparently seems to you, but most teachers are very passionate about education and helping kids reach their potential.

  6. faerylandmom says:

    Reblogged this on The Faery Inn and commented:
    Yes. This.

  7. cboetcker says:

    “She must meet the standards so that her school gets more federal fundi— I mean, so that she will grow up to be a successful and well adjusted person.”

    I left teaching at a public high school because they do not value the individual at all! I was told to change F’s to C’s for the school grade. In my school kids knew they could do LITERALLY nothing and get a C. They were OBSESSED with tests. And so they taught kids they could do nothing and get a C but God forbid you do poorly on a standardized test and then guess who takes the blame for poor test takers?? The teachers! I was measured based on my kids performance though I was not allowed to give an F to a child who FAILED!! I couldn’t take it.

  8. Delite Gaddie says:

    It is so exciting for me to see that parents today are really taking charge of their own child’s education. That is what my husband and I did in the 1970s. After owning private, charter and career schools over the past five decades, I do have a few words of wisdom:

    1. Children should be taught to read between the ages of 4-6.
    2. Master teachers are few.
    3. Homework is overrated. Children need time to play and do family activities.
    4. Intensive phonics-first is the best method for teaching reading. Try the McGuffey’s.
    5. Common Core is a national curriculum. It will end with parents having to go to Washington DC to object to any of it.
    6. International Baccalaureate or IB Curriculum is another falsehood. It is intended to make your child become a Word Citizen and leaves American History and Western Civilization on the cutting floor.

    May God bless the parents of America’s children that they will find the truth.

    • Heidi F says:

      I disagree with your first point. Increasingly research is showing Children should start academic learning beginning at ages 6-7.

      You may be interested in reading this from Cambridge University:

    • The #5. Common Core is not a national curriculum. It’s new state standards. How to interpret the new standards depends on each state. California is one of 45 states that have adopted the new standards. Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown earmarked $1.25 billion to help California school districts make the transition. I know one difference is that instead of multiple choices test in math, students need to solve the problems. Another difference is that more science non-fiction reading material will be emphasized.

      • V Smith says:

        You had better learn more about it. As a teacher trained in Common Core I can tell you that it is a “one-size-fits-all” education and every parent should be well informed of it’s purpose and methods. It is one of the reasons I retired and now encourage my children to home school. There is a ridiculous amount of unnecessary testing!

        • My son goes to 1st grade public school in CA and we love the common core standards (At least works great for us). He is doing very well this year. His teacher requires us to invest a lot of time for his school work. He wants to read to us 40 min every day and asking for more math problems on his own. It just pasted 100 days of school and he has been excelled so much this year. Now he is reading “The magic tree house” chapter books on his own and taking an AR test in his school library. He also asks me to teach him more maths. The “extra” testing doesn’t seem to bother him at all. I couldn’t be more happier to see my 6 year old boy looking forward to school every morning.

      • rosie says:

        I am really sick of the lie, common core is not a national curriculum. When just yesterday we were reading a homework assignment with COMMON CORE CURRICULUM printed on the top of the homework page. That is one of the big lies about common core. The schools were forced to accept it in order to get funding, before the standards were even written, this is wrong. It was brought into our schools with out telling parents. Common core is federal takeover of our local schools, it is not age appropriate, lets not forget data mining your child and families private information, to share or sell or what ever they want to do with it. And why in hell is bill gates spending so much money pushing it.

        • Abe Degnan says:

          Why is Bill Gates spending money to support it? Because he can make a lot of money selling Surface tablets and software to run the curriculum and the testing, to every school in the nation! Follow the money on this one, that’s for sure!

  9. Laney says:

    We do give newborns a standardized test at birth–the APGAR. No mind that some babies take a little extra time to adjust to life outside the womb. If baby doesn’t score high he/she is subjected to rough handling.

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  11. Bob says:

    Teachers unions have to be done away with if education is going to get better in this country. Just like all unions, the teachers union is nothing but a legal extortion ring designed to setup a great no competition high benefit no accountability environment for its members ( The teachers ). Public-school teachers are so afraid of competition it’s ridiculous. Do we really think this is somehow good for our kids?!?!? I know this isn’t true for all public-school teachers, but the majority of the ones that I’ve seen are not there for the children at all. They’re only worried about tenure and setting themselves up for a nice retirement after 20 or so years. School choice is the answer to cure most school problems. With more competition the schools will be forced to step it up and see the kids and the parents more as customers that they have to perform for. Many of the problem teachers will quit as a result and the system will get better as a whole.

    • You are so misguided its funny. By calling for competition amongst teachers, you do realize you’re advocating against everything Matt is saying right? Teachers do compete for higher test scores now so they can keep their job. This puts the emphasis and end all on a standardized government test. In your anti teacher rant you somehow argued against everything Matt said. You’re clearly just too dumb to recognize this paradox.

  12. I was just reading an article today about how parents refusing to let their kids take Common Core tests is really throwing a wrench into CC plans. In the article, which I can’t seem to find again, it was saying that in one particular district, some 80% of kids had parents who opted them out, causing the schools to cancel the test, because testing 20% of the kids wouldn’t give meaningful results. So if it’s an option, opt your kids out! It might help!

    I’m a big fan of school choice myself, but we choose to homeschool because I think that it will ultimately be better for our kids and our family. I think that you can certainly start teaching kids early without stressing them out. My 5-year-old (who is pre-k this year, as she wasn’t 5 in September) has maybe an hour of school a day (although she likes to listen in on her older sister’s readings as well), but she’s already reading solidly at about the last first, maybe early second grade level. Nonetheless, she has tons of time for imaginary play, and she and her 3-year-old sister have elaborate make believe games. I love how my kids play *together* and see each other as their best friends and partners, because they do school together and have so much time together. They have outside friends, of course, at other activities, and they love playing with other kids, but they also have a great sibling relationship that I hope will last them throughout life.

    • August says:

      Most of my kids were reading by kindergarten, but not because of any preschool class I put them in. I simply read with them, A LOT, at home, every day. Then we read some more, A LOT, more. Then the older kids started to read and the younger ones wanted to be just like them. The ones who weren’t reading solidly by kindergarten read solidly within the first few months. I never pushed them. I just read to them and with them A LOT. Our house is full of books. We have three bookcases in our main living areas full of books, not books for decoration, but books that actually get handled and read. We have two big bookcases upstairs full of kids’ books. We also have baskets of books from the library every month.

      I am also a firm believer that free play is so important during childhood. That is how children learn to work out problems and navigate their world. And now studies are showing that kids who have lots of free play time during the day do better academically, studies out of other countries that allow such play during the school day, like Finland. We work our kids too hard from too young. It’s no wonder they are already burned out by the time they get to second grade.

    • rosie says:

      The kids can refuse the test, don’t touch the test, don’t write anything on the test.

  13. kingalingg says:

    Children are being pushed too hard in schools where only one way (or very, very few ways) of learning are practiced. Kids learn best by exploring the world and being fascinated about things in their own time and way, and learning their love of knowledge from their curiosity, not from curriculums telling them what they should have an interest in.
    Sure, there needs to be some standardisation of education, so those there is some kind of benchmark of basic education. But as someone who genuinely loves learning and is concerned about my peers’ lack of said love, I do think kids and students should be encouraged to learn about what they want in the way that is best for them. We should be celebrating this curiosity, not telling them they can’t and that they need to be learning about something that is boring and probably irrelevant to them. That is not the way to create a better educated society.

  14. ashley says:

    I dont like common core either, but you have to realize that it is only part of what kids are doing in school. Its not the majority of their work. My kids get it as homework. In the classroom they are doing wonderful things- lots of hands-on interactive activities, games, presentations, art work, social interaction, creative play, etc. It is true that not all kids learn the same and schools have accommodated this. Teachers are taught to teach many different methods. They do actually use these in the classroom. It’s also important to remember that some learn by pen and paper, so incorporating this is important as well. Common core is poorly written and poorly thought out, but my kids understand it and if they can figure that out they are learning analytical skills. Its funny that we like to complain about education but are resistant to change it at the same time. There is a big resistance to the investigations math program, but it teaches exactly what math is designed to teach- analytical skills. My generation is still stuck on getting the right answer because that is what we were taught to do. Just because its hard or different doesn’t make it a step back. Education is not a perfect system, never has been, never will be. I wish we didn’t have common core, but it doesn’t make me fear public schools or want to get rid of them. They are too important. To me public education is so much more than what they are learning academically. If academics were it, I could teach them more at home. People are what matter in life. Kids need to learn to interact with people from all situations in life, not just those that mom and dad like. How can we expect to make a change in society if we keep all the good we have to ourselves? Let your kids go out and lift those around them. Teach them to embrace the good and reject the bad. Help them if they aren’t understanding common core. Common core is ridiculous. It is a part of the school system but not focus or the ruin of it. There are too many wonderful, dedicated teachers and schools to allow this to happen.

    • Shelia says:

      I am glad that the school you send your children is still allowing for fun in the classroom but in the school I work at common core has completely taken over and fun is no longer allowed. I am an assistant in a first grade classroom (I choose not to teach even though I am teacher because I am so opposed to what is happening in the classroom) and these 6 and 7 year olds sit at a desk all day long. They do get 3 recesses still (thank goodness) but that is the extent of fun to be had. The teachers have no control over the situation. They are required to follow the curriculum the district provided and stick to a very strict schedule. If the principal walks in to the room and the teacher is still doing reading because the kids got really involved in the lesson, but it is math time she gets in trouble. And forget science and social studies- the entire day is dedicated to reading and math. I was homeschooling my own children but had to stop so I could help our financial situation. We are counting down the days until I can homeschool them again (and so are they).

      • Snow says:

        That makes me so sad. 😦 My niece is in kindergarten and she just told me a few days ago that she hates school because all they do is worksheets. Isn’t that depressing? In kindergarten and she already had a negative view of school.

    • rosie says:

      My grandson is passing, he can do the math, and he is bored to tears with common core, they do NOT have text books, just sheets with little stories, and most of them are wrong. They have shorter lunch times, and it seems there is not enough time to use the restroom, because it cuts into the “scheduled” work time, yes the teachers must follow the book, the common core guide book to the letter. He is seven and in second grade, he was reading before pre k, he was good at math even then, but now with common core he hates schools, hates reading, and is bored and has lost all the good math skills he knew. . Common core is dumbing down our children and confusing them, It has to go.

  15. Curtis says:

    I wish it weren’t true, but we are slowly becoming Aldus Huxley’s Brave New World.

  16. js says:

    Dear Matt: you are a clumsy, unfocused, meandering writer. You would greatly benefit from some form of journalistic training. You would also benefit from including greater nuance in your writing. It’s true, you do write like a fifth grader.

  17. Beth says:

    Lol this pissed me off at first (not at the person who wrote it, at the government for stealing my childhood) cuz I’m only in 8th grade and I have 4 more years of torture ahead of me. And then I started laughing cuz it’s all just so ridiculous. Seriously, things like this really need to be taken into consideration. I don’t necessarily hate going to school, and I don’t hate education. I just hate getting up at the buttcrack of dawn to go to a place where I’m judged and put down all day. Like for freshman year I got suggested for all honors except for math and Spanish but that doesn’t mean I’m smarter than the other kids. In fact, some of them get the same grades as I do but they didn’t get any honors. Cuz I’m a teacher’s pet. I can’t help it. But it shows that the school really doesn’t give a crap about how the teachers teach, just as long as we match up to the average for our age. Although technically I’m not average. (I skipped a grade) Mom said she thinks I could skip another one, but most likely they wouldn’t let me cuz of the whole money thing, like the longer I’m in school the more money they get.

    America is slowly killing itself.

  18. Reblogged this on Blessed Hope Farm and commented:
    I’m really starting to like this guy.

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  20. CMJH Fantasy says:

    Oi, do I know it…
    I’m in 11th grade, and have never been a math person. My geometry experience wasn’t very good, but I’m in Algebra II now, and we are using something called CPM- College Prepatory Math.
    These text books:
    *Don’t provide examples
    *tell the teacher to NOT interact with or explain things fully to students (bless my teacher for ignoring this rule)
    *and expect EACH AND EVERY student to be able to do every single problem on their own without being shown how to do it first.
    *the homework has about 2 or 3 problems from the actual classwork ,and then several problems that come in later in the book, while expecting you to do and get them ALL correct.

    I’ve never liked math, and despite not having the best geometry experience last year, I could understand some things (it was mostly because it was the teachers first of teacher ever. He really did try, bless his heart, but he wasn’t ready for highschool students), but with CPM’s “amazing, ever-so-glorious, the only way to teach kids” methods, the only reason why I understand anything at all i because my teacher is ignoring the part where it told him to not help us.
    This kind of textbook should not be used to teach. It isn’t a tool for teaching, as much as the creators of it would like to say otherwise. It. Simply. Isn’t. You cannot give a whole class room of people, all of whom have different levels of understanding and different ways of learning, the same problem, and expect them to know EXACTLY how to solve it in the blink of an eye. I, myself, need to be walked through every new thing that comes up, which is why I can’t do the homework very well.
    CPM, though called a “teaching tool” is not such. It can be useful in challenging students who are looking to take math in college, or who want to challenge themselves AFTER they have already taken the math course (NOT from CPM, but from something that can actually teach.)
    But it ties into what you are saying here, that the government is trying to push the kids of this country into competing with everyone else, like the CHinese and other Asian countries. But they don’t seem to realize that the way highschool and college works in most Asian countries is VERY different to how it works here. They also don’t realize that, the more they push us, the more likely we are to break. Our society doesn’t make this kind of learning a big deal as it is in Asian countries, and, quite honestly, I just want to WRITE. I want to write stories, articles, ANYTHING. I don’t CARE about finding the solution to (x^2+3x+25)=(34x^2-67x+9), especially only to find that there is no solution. Thanks, CPM, I was worried that I was wrong, because you never told me about the possibility of no solutions. Great teaching methods! I never cared much for math, and never will. I realize the benefits of higher level math, such as better problem solving skills, but FORCING someone into something as rigorous as CPM when they don’t even intend to take math in college (*GASP* how dare I plan my OWN FUTURE!!!) is not going to make them better problem solvers, it’s going to make them feel lost and confused, and will wear them out mentally, physically, and emotionally (I know from experience).
    Long story short, the way the common core is changing, the government had better have been hoping for its country wide scores to drop, because breaking young, vulnerable, emotional students is not going to help the US compete against all those smarter countries.
    🙂 Thank you for this article, it really hit the spot!

    • You don’t like to write, and you mention this Ina well written post? I’m an 11th grade teacher and I wish more students wrote like you. You really are talented.

      • CMJH Fantasy says:

        Ah, did I say that I don’t like writing? I don’t think I did. No, I LOVE writing, it’s my strongest point! It’s math that I don’t like. Sorry for confusion! (this is why I need to get in the habit of actually proof -reading….) But, yeah looking back through now, there are several grammatical and spelling errors! Ah, well, you live, you learn. Thank you, though! ^///^

  21. Linda Storm says:

    Matt, another good, if not great piece of writing, thank you. I remember being in a public school during the mid 50’s to late 60’s. I remember distinctly Our Weekly Reader having an article in it telling how all the Russian children were cared for each day in government run care centers while their parents worked for the Communist State. It seems that no one has a bad word to say now about the communist, leftist, Marxist policies we are seeing in our own country now. There will probably be someone telling me I am guilty of a “hate crime” or of JUDGING (0 NO!!) the communistic system. Keep at it Matt! We need your truth. God has blessed you with a good mind and a quick wit, so keep using it!

  22. cplind says:

    Thank you for another revealing post Matt. The education system of today attempts to pump out as many cookie-cutter students as possible, failing to educate students they way they learn best and also failing to prepare them for their future. My particular experience led to completing a 4 year college degree (private university, an issue for a different time) and working at a job that I didn’t even need the degree to secure. With my one-year-old quickly approaching the time (or is she already there?) when she will similarly be tested, I wonder in what state our education system will be…

  23. Pingback: “What sober person gives standardized tests to a kindergartner? Ever meet a 5-year-old?” – Part 1 | Teachers' Letters to Bill Gates

  24. Mrs.C says:

    I agree with what you have said here 100%. My daughter has ADHD-Inattentive type and has really had a difficult time with these standardized tests. Our state is set to implement Common Core next school year and for the first time, I’m considering home schooling. I also wrote a blog post a few months ago titled What Should a 4-Year-Old Know? about this issue of pushing more and more information at kids at younger and younger ages.

  25. MadAngel says:

    Albert Einstein — ‘Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid

  26. Cheryl J. says:

    It’s a sad thing that a child has to grow up autistic, challenged or as “special needs” when he/she is going to school with children who DO measure up to a certain criteria. To the young mother who is airing her rants on Facebook: You took positive steps to teach your child at home this year to save the embarrassment of making him live up to an impossible academic standard. However, do you actually think that you are saving him from public scrutiny by exposing him on Facebook? Think of the psychological damage YOU could be causing him by shining a spotlight on his deficiencies; your poor innocent child who has no control over YOUR narcissism. You talk about your him/her as if she is the family pet who has no emotions. I can understand a need to draw attention to this critical matter, but aren’t you really drawing attention to yourself and how many “likes” you can get for yourself without actually improving the matter? Live a quiet life. There are organizations that are willing to give that kid a fighting chance. We will always have stigmas and ridiculers in our society. You don’t need to make it harder than what it is.

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  29. Fred says:


    Great blog I love reading your stuff. our kids do imagine everything you talk about. We home school the Waldorf ciriculium and it is awesome. We get to watch our children’s imaginations explode with great stories and ideas and this is just with a 3 & 5 year old. So keep up the great work because there are many parents out there just like us.

  30. therandomg says:

    Reblogged this on The Narrative and commented:
    Thanks Matt, Fantastic Post!

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  32. catherine wedge says:

    On the 33 rd day of school I was required to give the district Math benchmark to 24 k students, six who still four years old. There were 25 questions. One of my four year olds put his head down and cried. He kept saying can you help me and all I could do was repeat the question. The problem was three sets of frames with five missing numbers, all in all 15 missing numbers. Really. Yet when the teachers bring these issues up we are ignored. The next Math Benchmark shows a child holding balloons. Students are required to count and write. The following problem draw and write one more. A few students wrote the correct number so I counted the answer correct. Even though there were two parts the problem was only worth one point. I have been told I can not count the problem correct if the child doesn’t draw. I don’t agree. By not drawing the child is thinking abstractly, am I wrong?

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  34. How many people do you know that think of themselves as ‘standardized’? Can a number 2 pencil be relied upon to test for brilliance?

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  36. Amber Harris says:

    My husband and I have been reading through your postings as we drive cross country. You are thoroughly entertaining, and unfortunately correct.

    I am a homeschooling mother of three kids. Sadly, I can’t take any credit for initiating this… I am an accidental homeschooler. My child asked to be homeschooled and I hesitantly agreed to his request. I was well programmed to believe that he could only succeed with the heavy hand of our government guiding him. The craziest aspect of this story is the fact that I have a M.Ed. and didn’t think I could or should be teaching my own children. I have to hand it to our government, they know how to make some of us question our ability to succeed without their express approval. I wish I hadn’t been so easily deceived for so long. The haze of this socialistic thinking has dissipated and I can see all the amazing changes brought on by homeschooling.

    Thank you for putting yourself out there and taking all the criticism you undoubtedly receive. It is so nice to see that we are not alone in our thinking. Keep up the good fight!

    Amber Harris

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  41. Mom says:

    About China’s “test scores”- they aren’t as great as they look. An acquaintance who taught English in China was told to make sure everyone had “good” scores so the school would look better. I was told, too, the whole society glorifies lying, not just with scores. Interesting thought: we’re “competing” with liers. Perhaps, we aren’t too far behind.
    Loved the “tongue in cheek” article, by the way. So sad that we’re told everything has to be “standardized” and “tested” to be right, even our children!

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  43. Looking back on my life (over 50) then looking at standardization tests I see issues if and only if how the tests are used. I was pulled out of grade one, I remember this well, and stuck in to a special class. Why, first generation with a mess up language of English, Swedish and Finnish (parents from Swedish speaking Finland). Plus I was not interested in school when outside was sunny. Complete mess of a child. The standard tests of the day were used only to pin point those with weak subject areas. At 6 yrs old I was teased as a dummy. A little work of my teachers and my hard work, I did end up with a PhD in Chemical Physics, couple dozen research papers, and now a Director in a Faculty at a University. Not bad for what others thought was an unruly stupid little boy.

    Don’t sweat the little things, motivate the kids to develop a passion and they’ll do the rest. That is what my parents and teachers did, once I was hooked, didn’t stop until I done as much education as one could.

  44. 34,000 New York children refused to take the ELA state tests. Many more will choose to refuse the math, especially now that principals and educators are speaking up. Watch and spread the video. Parents have a right to refuse!

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