As a teacher for the past 18 years, I can say that the results of “No Child Left Behind” has shown dismal results, and probably the worst thing to have happened to schools in the U.S. in recent history.
“No Child Left Behind” meant teaching for the Standardized Tests, which was totally antithetical to what teaching is supposed to be about. First of all, we are teaching to a new type of student. Kids aren’t the same as they were even a decade ago, as 80 percent of school curriculums are geared to the verbal learners whereas, because of new brain wiring, 80% of children now learn visually and spatially. These kids are hot-wired to learn in a totally different way, thanks to cutting edge technology. As this technology was introduced into their lives, new parts of the brain were being stimulated while other parts were diminished.
We see three year olds getting their own iPads and/or computers in pre-nursery school! We see parents buying cell phones for six year olds who spend hours on video games. Here is a sobering fact. According to a news radio report, by mid 2010, the United States was named the world leader in school dropouts, which meant that one in three kids quit school and our nation ranged 23 and 25 out of 30 in reading and math scores on the list of the world’s most developed nations. Kids are boycotting school because they are bored and frustrated, and because “No Child Left Behind” does not work. Not only that, but as mentioned in previous blogs, schools ignore the body / mind / spirit connection which is known to reduce stress and tension, and opens the mind to new ways of thinking through the powers of meditation and silence.
I was recently treated to a day at a small non-sectarian private school in NYC. The staff found it crucial to introduce the body / mind / spirit approach into their curriculum – a totally holistic approach. Added to the curriculum were music and art classes, sadly eliminated from many public school curriculums either due to lack of funds, or the standards set by administrators to replace the arts with writing drills, spelling quizzes, and weekly tests. Where is the development of the imaginative mind which can build bridges between the known and the unknown, and can adjust to larger fields of consciousness? I saw it in action at this little school.
As an example, in a second grade class, the concept of mindfulness meditation was introduced at the beginning and end of the day. Not only that, but for two minutes, the kids were expected to focus on what they appreciated in their lives, so they were being introduced to some principles of quantum physics, where they began to understand the universal principle of frequency, of like attracting like, as they shifted / uplifted their moods / emotions in a matter of minutes. It’s never too early to teach your child how to shift his/her focus to positive thoughts, and teaching the concept of gratitude, thus putting more emphasis on social and emotional development.
Be an activist at your child’s school. More and more schools worldwide are beginning to change their emphasis, and are beginning to ban standardized tests, and teach more holistically.