To the Editor:
In response to “The Case for Literature” (Feb. 10, 2010), Nancie Atwell’s Commentary on keeping book reading in the curriculum:
When we have to make a case for literature, or any other subject, we demonstrate that children have become just a product for producing test scores so that politicians can prove their bottom line is in line with the business world’s.
Even if we forget about the mess today’s business world is in, we still should want children to read books simply as a means of realizing how important learning is. Instilling that knowledge is far more important than getting a certain test-score rating.
Today’s school culture is such that if a teacher asks students whether they understand the message of a Shakespeare play, one of them is bound to reply, “Who cares? I got an 80 on the test.” What an awful concept.
A version of this article appeared in the March 10, 2010 edition of Education Week as Reading? Who Cares. It’s All About the Tests