"No parent should stand for his or her student’s education being narrowed and destroyed… No teacher should allow a student to be removed from or denied access to any course without a fight".
- Juanita Doyon, Mothers Against WASL (Washington State's equivalent of CSAP)
Susan Ohanian: I've known and admired Juanita for years as a committed activist. What I admire here is the committed parent, able to stand up for what is best for her child.
Juanita Doyon "When my younger daughter was being placed in reading instead of physical education in eighth grade, I overrode the placement, telling her counselor that my daughter’s English teacher and I were competent to overrule a standardized test score and waive the reading class. That daughter is now doing very well at a four-year university". (More on Susan Ohanian's Website)
Why standardized testing is bad
Susan Ohanian: "..if schools ever encouraged or allowed people to think for themselves, we'd have a democratic revolution dismantling the current power structure. Since jobs in our society are distributed on the basis of social class, it is in the interest of the corporate-politico Standardistas to keep independent thought out of the schools—for teachers and learners.
..with the current curriculum madness, I drop my support of compulsory schooling. I can't support forcing children to endure an oppressive behaviorist curriculum that demeans and diminishes them. I can't support forcing kids into schools that have abandoned kindergarten playhouses, school music programs, P. E.. I can't support forcing kids into schools that award prizes for reading books.
I won't support compulsory attendance until schools adopt a Happiness Index.
Philadelphia child psychiatrist Robert Kay has a solution I like. Compel kids to come as far as the school playground. Then it's the teacher's job to entice them into class".
"What kinds of questions would you recommend parents ask teachers about curriculum? How can parents and teachers unite to combat mindless standardization?"
Ohanian: "I am serious about advocating a Happiness Index. There was an item in the New York Times..[about].. McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken..sponsoring research to find out answers to such questions as Are cows ever happy? Do pigs feel pain? What do chickens really want? Putting aside for the moment, the question of whether McDonald's and KFC are being disingenuous.
Just consider that these questions are no longer asked about children in school. The fact that it is inconceivable to imagine the current U. S. Department of Education or any politician sponsoring research to find out answers to such questions as Are 7th graders ever happy? What do 8th graders really want? should give parents and teachers pause.
Why isn't a child's Happiness Index taken as seriously as her algebra score?
Why don't we ask kids, What do you really want? Ask that—and then shut up and listen to the answer.
These questions are neither frivolous nor rhetorical. The corporate call for high standards and No Child Left Behind's number crunching steal away childhood, setting schools on a course that will produce angry children who grow up to be adults whose values are skewed and who are mad as hell to boot.
Some food retailers have introduced labels indicating that an animal "was raised with care." Can schools do any less? Every teacher, every year, must be able to testify that every child was educated with care". (From the article:A Conversation with Susan Ohanian)