Monday, April 23, 2012

How does this affect the standardized test score?

A colleague related a story of some people she was with who knowingly parked their cars in a business' parking lot to attend an event not associated with the business, under signs warning that such conduct would result in the vehicle's getting towed.  When they returned, one of the cars was being towed.  They were able to get the car back on the spot, but still had to pay a 3-figure fee for its having begun the towing journey.

They were furious enough that they complained to the business manager--offering some sort of lame explanation about it having been a community event, after all--and were reimbursed the towing fee and given a sizable gift card to the business.

How in the world, you may ask, does this have anything to do with education?

Two things.  First, standardized test scores can go hang if our education system doesn't do something about this kind of corrosive self-absorption.  Second, and more importantly, how can "education" (the system, individual teachers, etc.) do anything about such corrosive self-absorption when our society simply swims in such ridiculous justifications for insanely selfish behavior?

How in the world are a bunch of maligned and beleaguered teachers going to do anything about the teenage children of people who do such a thing as this?  And yes, this does affect standardized test scores.  If a self-absorbed school student doesn't see a need to apply him or herself to school work and test readiness, then s/he won't, and too often there's little available to compel greater attentiveness, especially in the face of such well-honed self-justification machinery.

Ask any teacher you know.  They can tell you any number of stories of such selfishness, responsibility-avoidance, and blame-deflection.


Sophia said...

My favourite teacher in school was an English teacher who when we were reading a particular poem was interrupted by a girl whose family owns a local hotel who said "this is stupid!" in a typically teenage way.
In response the teacher snapped back with shocking rapidity "no, you're stupid!" my respect for her was solidified that day. Sure it might not have been the best way to handle the situation, but the girl in question was stupid and rather vapid. "Somebody finally said it" I thought.

Girl in question never piped up like that again either.

Andrew Milton said...

Sophia, I see by your spelling of favo(u)rite that 'you're not from around here,' as the saying goes.

If I were to say this in an American public school (and, yes, I have the urge sometimes), I'd end up in the newspaper and on some sort of probation.

More interestingly, it seems like precisely the best way to handle it....Some high quality learning got done in that student. Much more than if the teacher had dignified the girl by asking why she felt this way or how she thinks that affects the other students. And it sounds like it was 'what's best for (at least all the other) students,' which, of course, is the holy grail of teacher motivation.