Nuggets of Wisdom

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Old Disney Cartoon Slams Standardized Tests

I watched Disney’s Fillmore back when I was entering high school. Even as someone outside of the show’s targeted age range, I managed to find the show rather entertaining. It was a Disney show that was cut short before its time, and if Mr. Enter’s recent admirable animation review is any indicator, it was also a show ahead of its time in terms of social commentary, especially with the American education system:

As a teenager, I simply interpreted the expressed anxiety over the test to be mere cartoonish hyperbole, but considering how too many real life students get stressed over standardized testing, it seems to far accurately reflect real life. I mean, students vomiting and peeing their pants? A dying boy being forced to take his exam? Good grief! Sometime real life surpasses “cartoonish hyperbole.”

I can’t for the life of me understand why we even have standardized tests. Nobody seems to like them. Students obviously don’t like taking them. Teachers don’t like giving them. Parents don’t like preparing their children for them. School districts don’t like administering them. Seems like the only people who value them are the government bureaucrats who design them and who see students as nothing more than commodities rather than thinking individual human beings.

And that seems to be the biggest problem with our education system. Everybody knows that it’s f***ed up, but nobody seems to want to do anything about it. And even when people do try to address the problem, they usually do so with simple band-aid solutions. Democrats claim we need “moar funding.” (We don’t!) Republicans claim we need “moar testing.” (We don’t!)

It doesn’t seem to occur to either political party that our education system needs more than a quick fix. It needs to be completely and systematically reformed from top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top. It never occurs to them that, perhaps, maybe, we need to re-think standardized testing, to re-think central-planning educational initiatives, or to even re-think the very concept of “schooling.”

But, of course, all of that would require actually “thinking” about the problem, and most people don’t seem to have the time or energy to think. Why even bother thinking about how to solve a problem when you can simply slap a bandage on it. Because band-aids fix everything!