Wednesday, September 26, 2007


A teacher on Vancouver Island is facing disciplinary action for refusing to give her students a standard reading test.

Kathryn Sihota refused to give her students the District Assessment of Reading Team test (DART) after a little girl in her class cried about taking the test. Sihota complained to an assistant superintendent that she would not give the test again because she couldn't do that to her students anymore.

Well, waah...There are few problems with Ms. Sihota's attitude. First, it is in her job description to administer tests. If she were so heartbroken about making her students work, perhaps another line of employment would be better for her. Students need firm guidance, not some New Age type who succumbs to a child's meltdown. Children need to learn that, in real life at jobs, they will face performance evaluations. A standardized test is a just a performance evaluation of skills. There is nothing wrong with assessment of the capabilities of either children or adults. Of course, this needs to be in the context of work outside the test such as practical application of those skills. In the classroom (and in life) application and evaluation should compliment one another.

Second, Ms. Sihota is not teaching her students very good business and employment skills. When the children become adults they can't be teary eyed at the idea of performance evaluation, a job interview, or a presentation in front of a client. Life is hard, an unforgiving bastard. If teachers coddle their students in this manner, let them off homework and testing, how will the children learn to survive the adult world? The sad fact is that they won't learn to manage their lives without a childhood foundation of discipline.

Ms. Sihota gets an “F” in Life Skills.

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