Editorial: There’s more to learning than test results

Published 1:22 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2022

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Surprise, surprise.

Actually, noone was surprised, especially our educators.

The latest state accountability test results show that student performance declined since pandemic shutdowns started.

I remember a parent telling an educator after the initial lockdowns and remote learning started: “Our kids are going to be dumber than dirt.”

That was an exaggeration, of course, but the numbers don’t lie.

I say the numbers don’t tell the whole story, either.

Our kids will be fine.

Sure, they’re a bit behind in reading and math and other subjects, but not that far. Let’s not forget that the goal keeps going farther out the better a class performs. I can’t see how a class could continue to make the best grade possible on the state accountability test year after year.

I understand the need for the tests, which are helpful in identifying specific problems and putting resources where most needed. Kids need to know how to read, and we should continue to do everything possible to reach that goal. Tests help with that. The same goes with other subjects we all use during our lives. I’m not blaming the test, here.

But these tests don’t measure everything. They for sure don’t measure how a child learns to cope with life.

What most kids got was more time at home. In 99% of cases, that can only be good. Even parents with problems of their own want what’s best for their children. Remember, parents and grandparents and everyone else in a child’s life are also their teachers. You may not be teaching them calculus, (Like me, you probably don’t even understand calculus, that’s why I work at the newspaper.), but you can teach them how to act, how to respect others, even the importance of buckling down and getting that education.

It’s called character, and our kids learned plenty during the shutdown.

Our kids also learned responsibility. Remote learning was kind of like homework, but all day. When you’re at school, you’re stuck. At home, it takes even more willpower to concentrate on the school task at hand. I don’t know how they did it, but they did.

Our kids learned that the world throws curveballs. You may get a fastball down the middle every now and then and drive it out of the park, but when you least expect it, a curveball comes, and if you don’t adjust, you’re headed back to the dugout. Our kids learned how to adjust. They’re ready for life’s curveballs.

They learned about politics. Sure, recent years haven’t been what we think they should have been politically, and we haven’t acted so great, either. Our kids are watching, and learning. The pandemic only heightened our political divide. You have to know your past to prevent bad things from happening in the future, right?

Our kids learned tons about technology, as did our educators. They learned how to communicate effectively without being in front of a person. They learned it with schoolwork and with interactions with their friends. That knowledge can only help them in the future. I wish I had half the technological knowledge of the average 12 year old.

Yes, our kids will be fine.

It’s the rest of us I’m worried about.

– Mike Barnhardt