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View Diary: Seattle teachers refuse to give flawed standardized test (121 comments)

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  •  Actually... (3+ / 0-), albeit unstated, primary assumption was that Russ didn't have the opportunity or wasn't given the motivation to learn read. I also considered the possibility that he had a learning disability that wasn't diagnosed and addressed (perhaps due to the lack of understanding of such conditions when he was in school or, if he was younger, a bad school system). I concluded this because he sounds like an accomplished individual in other aspects so it's probably not a basic intelligence issue.

    I can't weld aluminum but I'm pretty sure I could learn to do a pretty good job at it if I chose to pursue that trade. As good as Russ, maybe not. I'm not sure what the relevance of that is though - it's impossible to be an expert at everything. My education, certainly not stellar, permits me to explore a wide variety of things relevant to a productive and informed existence.

    I don't think less of Russ because he can't read, although if he could learn to read and chose not to, I might question his judgement in making that decision even as an adult.

    I'm not expecting that every child will develop "high aptitude" in every area. However, I do believe our education system should set fairly high expectations and strive for basic aptitude in critical areas by as many children as possible.

    We should, for example, expect a High School graduate to be able to, painfully perhaps, read their auto insurance contract and actually understand it without help beyond Google et al. We should expect a High School graduate to be able to fairly quickly compute, with a four function calculator, how much money they would owe at the end of five years if they borrowed $10,000 at a simple annual interest rate of 7% and made no intervening payments. We should expect a High School graduate to compute, without a calculator, the odds of a coin flip coming up heads five times in a row. We should expect a High School graduate to know the difference between the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. We should expect a High School graduate to know that each state has a fixed number of Senators. None of these require "high aptitude" - they require a basic education and, in the case of the insurance contract, concentration, focus, and perseverance.

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