To my memory, when I was in school (granted, almost 50 years ago) educators never emphasized standardized tests so much as they do now. At least at the elementary/middle school level. In high school, we had the SATs and ACTs; my teachers closely monitored those results, perhaps for an indication of how well they taught us the required material. Who knows?
Of one thing I am fairly certain: not many, if any, of my classmates came to school hungry. Can you imagine trying to learn on an empty stomach? So many kids face that challenge today that it did not surprise me to read in today’s Democrat & Chronicle that only 5% of Rochester City School District elementary and middle school students scored at a proficiency level in reading and math on this past school year’s new standardized tests. Rochester, NY, my home town, suffers from a high rate of childhood poverty and hunger. It’s no wonder the kids can’t learn.
This news saddens me. Rochester suffers immensely from the loss of so many manufacturing jobs over the past few decades; employers took away hope with those jobs. And how are those people supposed to support their families on minimum wage salaries or by working at places like Wal-Mart that are notorious for short-changing employees by preventing them from working enough hours per week to qualify them for health insurance? Low wages don’t give people enough money to buy good, nutritious food for their families! It’s no wonder kids are failing school.