Sunday, October 01, 2006

Lauren Wells has a doctorate in Elementary Education and is president of LRW & Associates, an education consulting firm. She may be contacted at

In a guest column in the Meridian Star she attempts to answer the question what do the standardized test scores really mean? and tells how our children are being short changed by schools teaching to the test.

If schools deny opportunities for these diverse modes of learning, they severely limit equal education opportunity for children. If we want children to become thoughtful, caring, successful individuals, then schools must provide many opportunities to develop the unique talents children possess. So what does a school’s accreditation level really mean? Perhaps it doesn’t mean much. Parents should ask, “What is happening and not happening in my child’s classroom to impact test scores?”

One thing I have observed as the homeschooling Mother of two boys is that each child has their own learning style. What works with one child may not be equally successful with another. Unfortunately for the vast majority of public school students the public school system is busy trying to fit square pegs into round holds instead of trying to find ways to teach the square pegs. It's not the teacher's fault, when you have 25+ students in a classroom, you don't really have time to get to know your students and discover their learning styles, much less tailor your teaching to each individual student.

The problem lies with the public school system as a whole which seems intent on wiping out individuality. Mandatory school uniforms that force students to dress like clones was just one of the symptoms of the new mentality invading our public schools - that individuality is BAD and conformity is GOOD. This mentality allows them to ignore the individual needs of Joe and Sue and concentrate on the good of the collective (uh, I meant classroom).

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