In the dank darkness of Medieval Times, there were real dangers in the woods that surrounded the thatched houses of European villages, and our children had to be protected. Understanding the natural curiosity of young minds, parents needed a way to squelch their desires to learn what was beyond the darkness. So we told them stories. We filled the darkness with child eating wolves, witches, and ogres. We filled their dreams with dread and scared them, so that we could protect them from real and life-threatening dangers.
After centuries of advancement into sophisticated and technological civilization, our children still live with terror. I realize this as I hear from teachers about children running from their classrooms during my state’s EOGs (End of Grade tests), screaming and throwing up in the halls.
It’s not green scaled monsters or goat-eating trolls, but the boogieman is still there. Since the first days of the school year, we’ve been telling stories, urging our children’s attention to the rules of learning, or else they will fail the EOGs and be held back for another year in the same grade. Their goodness on that one day, will determine how they spend the next year of their childhood.
I blame no teacher for telling these stories. They are scared too. I know that they have shed tears and lost lunches, because of the way that we are being forced to treat our children. We are as superstitious today as we were in the dark ages, believing that the magical 3 Rs, alone, will assure our children’s success, that if they can read, write, and perform basic math, then we have been successful.
The crime of it is that this abuse of our children comes not for the sake of their safety, or even their future. It is for the benefit of important men and women, in the seats of our governments, and for the one, who sits in the White House. We steel the childhoods of our young, so that these men and women can beat their chests and say, “Look how I’ve improved education, look at those test scores rise.” Is scaring teachers and children the best you can do?