Understanding comes only through self-knowledge

“The ignorant man is not the unlearned, but he who does not know himself,and the learned man is stupid when he relies on books,on knowledge and on authority to give him understanding. Understanding comes only through self-knowledge, which is awareness of one’s total psychological process. Thus education, in the true sense, is the understanding of oneself, for it is within each on of us that the whole of existence is gathered.” – Krishnamurti

I think of this quote on the eve of high-stakes testing. What is being measured/tested? Is this format the right one? The students don’t seem to think so, I found amusement in reading a student satire of the test , this quelled my test anxiety for a fleeting moment. This was shared via a user comment on Ravitch’s blog:

“A middle school student’s creative reaction to the testing madness:http://atthechalkface.com/2013/04/14/a-middle-school-students-version-of-a-new-york-state-assessment/

The source of my anxiety: a 20 page testing schedule and proctor assignment for our 300 students into 20 various proctoring rooms, too bad I can’t “opt out”.  I hope that the scheduling  logistics are behind me , at least for this week.

With opting out a bit more mainstream this year, I am curious to learn the legal ramifications for opting out. According to the blog, a school can lose funding if 5% or more of the student population opt-out.

In the post “A Teacher’s pledge for the ethical use of data” Ravitch agrees with a teacher that proposes that test scores should be treated as privately as a patient’s medical status. This student- teacher confidentiality is a misguided answer to the corporate testing agenda. I think this disagreement is healthy, up until now I have been aligned with many of Ravitch’s views, and as an education policy novice, I  have hung on many of her words. I think such a policy would be a penny wise and a pound foolish. Perhaps it would temporarily mitigate school closures because the “data ” would be missing, but in the long run and equal society should strive for transparency, how else can future generations learn from the mistakes of the past?

Publishing teacher’s ratings, that is a different case with a different goal- one of accountability and gaining control by exposing another stakeholder’s “weakness”. A policy like that should span industries rather than singling out a single arena.

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