Standardized Testing vs. Education Through Freedom

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Paulo Freire’s “problem-posing” teaching method is shown in “The Banking Concept of Education” through clear contradictions to the “banking method”. He makes several arguments against the banking method by attacking common teaching faux pas and explaining his method of problem-posing education, where the teacher-student relationship is of equal partnership. Freire also argues that the use of the banking method makes teachers more concerned with getting information out to the students than worrying if they understand it or not. Instead of “educating through the practice of freedom” (Freire 327), standardized tests like the Regents in New York and the MCAS in Massachusetts, “educates [students] as the practice of domination” (Freire, 327), limiting them to a strict, inanimate curriculum.

Starting with the class of 2003, a high school graduation requirement for students who attend school in Massachusetts is to pass the MCAS as sophomores. Because of this statewide test, the No Child Left Behind Act was passed so that every student in Massachusetts, regardless of socio-economic status, would hopefully be given the same education. Along with being adapted to a new curriculum, teachers were faced with losing their jobs. If the state thought that too many students weren’t passing the MCAS, their teacher would have to go through re-training, or possibly even lose his or her job. Although the New York State regents were not instated because of this Act, it also has the same goals as the MCAS. With this Act in place, a teacher is ordered to follow a set curriculum given by the state. A specific curriculum is made according to the guidelines of the standardized test, so that every student in every school will be taught the same information. Because of this, the teacher is more concerned with pounding knowledge into the students so they “record, memorize, and repeat” what they are taught (Freire 319). Contrary to Freire’s problem-posing philosophy of teaching,...
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