Friday, June 3, 2011

But My Son Will Have To Take The ACT!

Day 23 of 30 Day Blog Challenge:

This week I had a conversation with a parent who made the statement, "But my son will have to take the ACT someday."

Yes, she is right, her son will. However, should his entire educational career be based on the ACT? I asked this question in return, and the mother of my student was speechless. I then asked her if she wanted me to stop the innovation and creativity that her son has been infused with, and focus on a two hour Saturday morning test. She smiled and laughed. I did the same and asked, "Why are you hung up on two hours of your sons life?" No answer.

I get it. Parents want their children to be the next best thing. They want their child to be better than they were or are. They want their child to have what they didn't. They want heir child to be the best. Why do they focus on a test? Shouldn't they focus on the entire process?

The student I'm talking about is the brightest in my class. I have referenced him in previous blog posts. I have no doubt he will ace the ACT. He needs creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication in order for him to not become bored with school, and build upon the world he lives in.

How do we as educators help parents get past standardization and embrace the world their children live in? I struggle with this. The conversations I have with parents always fall back to their experiences in school. They have a hard time understanding the now. I ask them if their was Facebook, Skype, twitter, etc when they were children? NO! Then I respond, why do you want to take that away? Imagine your day to day without email or the Internet. Is it possible to function? Silence.

I continue to educate the parents of my students about the world we live in. They need it more than my students do.


  1. This is a topic where I believe we need balance as I understand the desire for decent ACT scores when it comes time to apply to colleges as our daughter is just about to do. However, I want to share a story about our 8th grade son (whose educational career in high school will not be based on getting a good grade on his ACT - unlike his older sister). His science class made Rube Goldberg machines that would produce a natural disaster. When he started the project he told me his group would fail because he was in a group with his friends, but they were all "dumb". We worked together on an idea that he took to school and the group immediately began working on. Today he came home to tell me that his group was not only the only group who finished on time and had a working invention but the "brainy" kids actually came up to his group and offered to pay them to help them finish their inventions. He further went on to say that he used his resources at school to get permission from the tech ed teacher to cut wood with his saws and spray paint their invention in his room so it looked cohesive. My response to him was that the ability to do what he did is often worth way more than book smarts.

  2. If we do what is best for kids, like what you do Chris, the standardized test scores including but not limited to the ACT will take care of themselves.