Saturday, April 9, 2011

Why Is President Obama Misunderstood?

 "Mr. Obama agreed that "we have piled on a lot of standardized tests" under federal education law, meaning the annual proficiency tests in reading and math given to Grades 3 through 8 as well as once in high school.

"Now there's nothing wrong with a standardized test being given occasionally just to give a base line of where kids are at," he continued. "Malia and Sasha, my two daughters, they just recently took a standardized test. But it wasn't a high-stakes test. It wasn't a test where they had to panic."

Critics, speaking within the article, miss the point if they think he is saying private school tests are less-pressurized, or blame the government for more testing in schools.

I believe, in this instance, he is talking about the formal nationwide  tests middle-schoolers take, not the SAT and ACT tests that Juniors and Seniors take. The latter do cause panic, unlike the yearly ones which are a part of the regular school years in both public and private schools. He meant, I believe, "it wasn't a high-stakes  test" such as an ACT or SAT test.

I believe the private high school entry exam, called the SSAT, is also panic-inducing because it is looked at by private high schools.  Despite my first daughter getting perfect scores on her SSAT, she did not get accepted at two out of four private high schools to which she had applied, and refused to study ahead of time for her SATs at the end of high school as a consequence.  Despite that, she graduated from Princeton University with As. It amazes me how her elementary teachers predicted dire consequences which didn't fortunately happen. I shouldn't have listened to them and worried myself sick without reason...(Today, my second daughter took her ACT; the panic continues, and she's an entirely different person)...

But what do I know? I could be wrong.  It was just a simple statement. I do know that if a simple statement can be misunderstood, as I believe the one above was, then how much more can be mangled by the press and bloggers and all? (admittedly including myself). And how many of those misunderstandings are motivated by fear and prejudice?

He made a good public display of crowd-pleasing today, and is working hard, I think. It was extremely brave to go out into crowds at any time, as he did today, the day after the historic Budget showdown that almost shut down the American government. I don't know why, but the spectacle of him unexpectedly shaking hands with tourists was so sweet, it brought tears to my eyes! It's a pity he can be so misunderstood at times, since I believe he is a kind-hearted leader and Americans are blessed to have him as President.

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