This I Believe

Stephen - Vassar, Michigan
Entered on September 1, 2007

The National Education Association believes students and their education should be the top priority and I agree.

I believe that “A Child Is More Than A Test Score” and let me share some thoughts why. Test scores, located in millions of pages of data presented to our leaders, don’t portray a true picture of our students. Our children portray many more things to their teachers, coaches, and aides.

I believe a child is a person. A unique, special individual with rights. A person with wants and needs that are met in good public schools around the country every day. In Washington, they are just a test score!

I believe a child is a learner; eager to see new things, hear new ideas, read new stories, write new fiction, discover new theories, experiment with new concepts, sing new songs, play new games, experience new opinions, and grow in many new ways. In Washington, they a just a test score!

I believe a child is a thinker; with personal thoughts and a literary voice which come out through personal journals, written essays, public debate, student government, and senior projects. In Washington, they are just a test score!

I believe a child is a competitor; whether in common classroom games or on the courses, fields, and courts of athletic events where their physical skills and abilities are demonstrated and valued; cheered and enjoyed. In Washington, they are just a test score!

I believe a child is creative. The graphic creations of the artistic child, the lyrical creations of the musical child, and the stylistic creations of the child who dances can’t be enjoyed or cherished by those in Washington. There they are just a test score!

I believe a child is human. Children come to us with lots of extra baggage from home, with emotions that are sometimes raw and hurting. In reality, hunger and lack of common necessities like sleep, proper hygiene, and good health care aren’t privileges of all our children. These things aren’t seen in Washington. Only test scores are offered with no explanations why they might be lower than average.

But I know why. I know students who suffer and fail because common needs aren’t met. I know students who don’t perform well on standardized tests, but could argue my arms off, perform music or drama on the stage much better than me, or outperform me in athletic competition.

Yes, “A Child Is More Than A Test Score.” I hope you agree. Don’t get me wrong…test scores are very important, but the child that produced those scores is more important in so very many ways. This I believe.