Wednesday, September 19, 2012


     Amid the tumult about standardized testing in schools, I sometimes smile at the silliness of thinking we can test true wisdom. When we sit students down in a room with dozens of others and ask them to fill in small circles on sheet after sheet for several hours, do we really think we are getting a precise picture of their insights about the mysteries of life, which is what wisdom is? Do these tests show us how completely Sam comprehends the arrangements and movements of stars in our galaxy, or what good advice George can give about cleaning up a computer, or how deeply Maria misses her mom who passed away recently? Do they offer a comprehensive – or even a superficial – look at the steady lights of awareness and sensitivity the students carry inside them? Wisdom – the kind this madcap world of ours so urgently needs – simply can’t be measured by filling in circles on sheets of standardized test paper. Set a student down in front of a downhearted brother or sister and you might see a true measurement of wisdom, or ask a teenager to tell you about his deceased grandmother’s gift for making him laugh. Real wisdom just won’t settle for being measured by brainless tests. Talk to students about how to shape the world into a more peaceful place, and you would get a far more meaningful measurement. 

No comments: