If I may share one of my daughter's kindergarden acceptance interview questions and answers (administered by a really mean, burned out public school psychologist):
Really mean school psychologist: What is a moth?
Four-year-old Amanda: It's another kind of church.
Really mean school psychologist: No! That's wrong!
I know this because I was listening from the hallway, sitting on the floor with my ear to the door, agonizing if I'd done the right thing to subject my daughter to this interview. We had just moved from the East Coast to Minnesota, and Amanda was hearing the "o" pronunciation differently. Plus, while she had exposure to the word mosque, I'm not sure she had yet to encounter a moth.
The reason she was being tested was because we realized late in the game that the kindergarden cutoff date was different in Minnesota than in Maryland. For months she had prepared to start kindergarden and after we moved, we realized she was ineligible due to her age (October birthdate). I couldn't imagine her waiting another whole year, plus she was already a foot taller than all the other incoming kindergardeners. Thus, we entered the alternative route which apparently was highly unpopular among school administrators. (People used it for free babysitting, they said, when I asked why the push back.)
Anyway, this was pretty much how the whole alternative route interview went: dumb question, bold answer that was slightly off but strangely on, severe admonishment.
Amanda's kinder confidence drove the psychologist crazy, who kept saying things like: "No!" and "You're wrong!" and "Did you just make that up?!" and "Quit guessing!" and "How can you possibly know that?!" and pretty much all things inappropriate to inspire a four year old child. It was anguishing to hear, as a mother of the interviewee. I considerred stopping the test, but I knew it was her only chance to get into kindergarden and I knew she was ready. In the end, the mean school psychologist gave Amanda a pass and said she could start kindergarden, but said she was wary of her success based on her performance in the interview, which she described as "barely passing." (As an fyi, Amanda had a fantastic kindergarden year in a public Spanish immersion school, all subjects taught 100 percent in the Spanish language until second grade, was the method. Aidan would also start there. We remain friends with other parents from this school.)
Following the interview during our drive home, I felt like I needed a shower.
This testing made me consider the grave power we have over our children, because it was I who put a pre-schooler into this horrible interview process. At four years old, my child would do whatever I asked her to do. All children would. Handle with extreme care.
I often wonder if I should have reported the incident or taken some action but it was one of those things where you just want to move forward. We were the subordinates, and I wanted my kid in kindergarden.
That was our little taste of power and bias in standarized testing. I wish I could tell that mean school psychologist that Amanda went on to fill out her own FAFSA at age 16, etc. Actually, my true wish is this: that the school psychologist got a vacation, or higher pay, or better supervision, or more support, or removed from power, or transformation, or fired, or whatever it was she needed to quit downgrading children.
Note: Believe it or not, this story is my recent Facebook status. Lol. I think about it a lot, so thought I'd pull it over to my blog. Thanks for visiting.