I have been reading for the past couple of weeks about what's been characterized as the horror of PSSA tests, the standardized testing of our dear sweet children to see how they measure up with the rest of America. I hate to wake up the parents of the greater Pittsburgh area, but if you want to know how your children compare to kids in the next school district, just visit the local fast food places, gas stations and the freshman class of any college. Ask students to answer some very simple questions without using any electronic device:
If you were driving using a GPS and it told you to go the wrong way on a one-way street, what would you do?
Solve 3 times 4 minus 9 plus 5.
If a customer comes into a convenience store and buys a gallon of milk that costs $3.73 but hands the clerk a five-dollar bill plus 73 cents in coins, how much change, if any, should be given?
How long and what kind of answers would they give you? I would not worry about the PSSA test results. I would worry about the answers they would give to the above questions.
The world outside the school system is currently witnessing its products, students who lack critical thinking skills and fundamental facts that are no longer basic. Solving problems without a calculator but with reasoning keeps the mind sharp and healthy.
Yes, you can opt out of the feared PSSA test all you want. But ask yourself, who is benefitting from opting out? You or your child? These test results do not go on their report cards. It is one week out of the year. You are the ones who are blowing this out of proportion.
Now lighten up, get back to basics and make sure your kids can survive if their batteries go dead and the electricity goes out.