Sometimes, the howling frustration that we feel can only be expressed in comedy. I don’t know if you ever watch John Oliver, but he seems to be a person who feels very similar frustrations to mine, and rather than curl up in the fetal position with his thumb in his mouth (as I sometimes am super attempted to do), John Oliver makes great points with great comedy.
This 18–ish minute clip is a classic example. There are so many things that drive me bananas about standardized tests, like:
- how many of them children take by the time they graduate high school
- how preparing for them makes it so that kids don’t have much time for anything else in school
- how they can make or break the rest of a kid’s life depending on what kind of test-takers kids are – what happens if you’re smart, but not a good test-taker?
- increasingly, well-educated adults attempt to pass these tests, and cannot
- sometimes the questions make no sense to anyone, but yet they’re included and have an impact on the rest of a kid’s life
- test-takers and administrators must sign a contract saying they will not speak about any of the questions or answers, no matter how absurd they are…
John Oliver addresses all these wrongs, and so many more. Best of all, I don’t end up wanting to hit the liquor cabinet by the end. Instead, I want to share and be a part of the conversation about how to fix this huge mess. Standardized tests, while perhaps conceived to help Leave No Child Behind, have gotten us stuck in a huge quagmire. It is up to us – regular people, parents, grown-ups – to pull our children out.