Accreditation testing threatens the challenged
The entire Richmond metro region has done an excellent job of responding to anxiety around school shootings. The school districts have implemented preventive security measures that ensure students can attend school without the anxiety of potential threats.
However, Richmond has ignored another area of psychological violence — testing and its push for accreditation. What is the function of accreditation testing? On the surface, it implies that students are at least receiving a certain level of education, which substantiates the school that is providing it. Unfortunately, Richmond Public Schools has done of a poor job of getting its schools accredited and providing a worthwhile education.
The anxiety surrounding accreditation tests is highest for students who seem to have no use for them. Failing tests and not getting accredited make both teachers and students feel like failures. This association with school and failure creates student alienation that may look like lethargy and a lack of enthusiasm about education. It is actually fear.
The fear of failure is threatening and can make students contemptuous of school. Accreditation may prove the schools’ quality, but there has been no real concern with giving students a passion for education or even connecting them to something purposeful. There has been no effort to make education seductive or even practical, only necessary. And even the idea of necessity requires a foundation of usefulness and purpose, which is not shown at RPS.
These students’ contempt for education is valid and should be expected given their conditions. The goal of education is to learn and to acquire culture and tolerance through facts. This cannot occur with the pithy battery of tests students must endure. The education system has failed when school becomes only a place of violence, mental anguish, and degradation.