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David Gamberg, superintendent of the Southold and Greenport districts in Long Island, Néw York, here defends childhood and the value of play against the endless barrage of high-stakes testing coming from federal and state officials.
“The curiosity and creativity of a child is at stake. They should be full of wonder. They should be given the proper time and space to venture into the world of others as they read for pleasure, dabble in watercolors that know no bounds, or expend the boundless energy of a little boy or girl on the playground without the fear of being cut short in the name of preparing for a high stakes test. The experiences that children should be engaged in are being sacrificed at an alarming rate…..
“The idea that we must designate scores to a narrow band of testable content areas (math and English Language skills) as future predictors of global competitiveness is about as sensible as mining for fool’s gold in the desert. The future of our nation more likely hinges on educating a generation of well-nourished children, who arrive at school excited by the prospect of being socially and emotionally engaged in learning that is joyous. School must promote the use of time that is filled as much with singing, dancing, drawing and running as it is with experimenting in science or practicing essential skills in reading, writing, and math.
“I call upon our elected leaders and policymakers to fashion a more balanced and sensible path forward. The current plan that looks at one side of the educational ledger is as misguided as it is destined to produce a generation of children who fail to fully experience childhood to the detriment of our civil well being in the years ahead.”