Thursday, April 24, 2008

Why I Love S.O.L.'s

The Standards of Learning Testing Season is fast approaching. All over the state of Virginia teachers are busily drilling kids with the vitally important information that the state has said they must know. Questions like, who made the first American flag? Every American knows the answer, Betsy Ross. Except that is not exactly true. History is funny that way. You can check yourself, if you like...

I bring this up because I passed a 3rd grade class in the hall the other day and there was a teacher with a handful of test questions quizing her kids as they waited to use the bathroom. I stopped for a second to join in and answer a question about George Washington Carver. Then came the Betsy Ross question. Immediately, I knew that Betsy Ross was not the answer (I am a History Channel addict). I looked at the teacher and she at me and then she quickly whispered, "Don't say it. That is not on the the test." I was shocked.

That reminded me of this little video on YouTube. I tried to embed the YouTube beneath (direct link).

Isn't it important to teach kids the truth? Or is it more important to teach what is on the test?


Janene said...

Yes I am commenting again. The SOL framework for kindergarten actually references stories and legends of famous Americans and says specifically about Betsy that she was a maker of one of the first flags...not that she created the first flag. The original concept with a lot of these standards was teaching kids an appreciation of history through stories. Along with the objective for Betsy Ross, Pocahontas, etc are the skills of identifying fact vs. fiction.

Al said...

I am so glad that you are commenting! I am not sure that I understand the difference between creator and maker, and I am not sure that the distinction is important in this context. I am sharing as close to actual events as my terrible memory will allow. I also want to say that I agree with you in saying that there is a story here that should be told, but stories don't translate to multiple choice.