Monday, April 21, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Tests

EDITOR:

There was recently a letter complaining about STAR testing focusing on math, science, reading, etc. and overlooking music, the arts and sports, etc. I sympathize. Testing can be very stressful. I remember taking ITED (Iowa Test for Educational Development) here in California when I was in seventh grade. But unfortunately we are in an economic competition with the rest of the world and we are not winning.

While it’s true that a very few will make a good living from music, professional sports and the arts, that percentage is very, very small. Almost all will have to compete in the workforce against competition here and abroad. This may not be fair, it just is. President Obama asked Steve Jobs when the jobs he sent to China would be coming back here to America. Steve told the president, “They won’t be.” It wasn’t just a question of labor expense, it was that Apple couldn’t find enough Americans capable of doing the high-tech work that he required. This item, which didn’t claim much attention from the media, should scare us to death.

I just talked to a kid that had just passed high school chemistry with good grades. I asked him to solve a relatively easy chemical equation like we had to do routinely when I was in high school chemistry. He said they hadn’t gone that far and that he was told such things would be covered in college chemistry. This may satisfy the requirement for some liberal arts colleges, but a kid taking Chemistry 1A in a serious college may find himself not as prepared as his GPA might lead him to believe.

Tests like STAR, as cruel and stressful as they are often portrayed, are necessary to prepare students for a very cruel and competitive employment environment when they grow up. In the post-war years when we were basically the only undamaged major economy in the world, we were able to create a surreal economic environment. One where a student could graduate barely able to read and get a good union factory job at a manufacturing plant, and have the American Dream of house, car, boat in the driveway. But the world recovered and those low-skill jobs that used to pay so well are mostly overseas now. That is the reason that the gap between the well off and the not so well off is widening. Once you get past the cliché jobs at McDonald’s, you will have to have something on the ball and skills in order to achieve comfortable middle class status.

Here is where I get back to the tests like STAR. Schools can de-emphasize the tests or even get rid of them altogether, but they won’t be doing the students any favors if they do. This is because an increasing number of companies, having lost faith in the public school system, have come up with tests of their own as part of their evaluation process in the hiring of new employees. Students unprepared to handle the stress of a test will be at a decided disadvantage when taking one of these employer-generated tests. Now you can make the argument that these companies will miss out on some really good employees this way and you may be right. But the fact remains that this is a numbers game and it works for the employers far more often than not, and therefore the use of testing by employers is likely to only go up. If students are not ready for this, then their path to success will be a lot more difficult. I’m not saying this is right or wrong, but as an old saying goes, it is what it is.

GEORGE ALGER
Placerville

Letters to the Editor

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

  • cookie65July 22, 2013 - 8:32 am

    At the risk of pi$$ing off some people (something I learned to deal with long ago) I will clear this up. Public education stopped being about education and became solely about money, contacts and union power the day they allowed teachers to form unions. Using your example of what was basic chemistry for you no longer being taught, what I learned in 7th grade science oh so many years ago is all that is required to disprove the man-made global warming fraud.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

News

CTE a pathway to higher wages, higher-demand jobs

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1

 
Heard over the back fence: Earth Day at the library

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

Air quality rating up in the air

By Chris Daley | From Page: A1

 
GDPUD: Budget and GM are top topics

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

Mountain lion seen in Placerville

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

 
New top 10 fugitive could be in area

By News Release | From Page: A3

 
Community Action Council seeks new member

By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: A3

Rattlesnake Avoidance Clinics May 3-4

By Hangtown Kennel | From Page: A9

 
.

Opinion

Belltower: El Niño or el nada?

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
The balancing act: Save the whales

By Larry Weitzman | From Page: A4

Retain Joe Harn as auditor

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4, 10 Comments

 
.

Letters

Tell the truth, don’t confuse voters

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Local petitions circulating

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 6 Comments

Chess club

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
True Christian

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

.

Sports

Sports Scene: April 20, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
All Star team shows competive balance

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A6

Australian rugby team visits Cameron park

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Roundup: Cougars drop finale

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Red hot Rico Abreu blazes to victory

By Gary Thomas | From Page: A6

 
Schedule: April 21-26, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Rains to present at AMA conference

By David Albee | From Page: A7

 
.

Prospecting

As we were: Supervisors can’t decide

By Ken Deibert | From Page: B2

 
Spend time in River City

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Cantare Chorale seeks new director

By Cantare Chorale | From Page: B3

 
Help with healthcare decisions

By Snowline Hospice Thrift Stores | From Page: B3

 
Time to enter El Dorado County Fair

By El Dorado County Fair | From Page: B3

Volunteers needed for day of service

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B10

 
.

Essentials

DUI Log: Feb. 28-April 3

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
Lake levels 4-17-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

.

Obituaries

Dianne Johnson

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Michael R. Sponsler

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Daniel Bish Sr. funeral notice

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

.

Comics

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Tuesday, April 22, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Monday, April 21, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
American Profile Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8