11 August 2013

The Matthew Effect

Public school analysts use Matthew 13:12 to describe struggling learners, because educational equity is what Jesus came and died for.  Obviously. 

"For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath." 

The so-called "Matthew Effect" comes into play when children aren't just reading to learn to read, but are beginning to use textbooks to study information.  They say this happens somewhere around third grade.  One "evaluation specialist" claims to be able to spot the dropouts in first grade!

I don't see it this way.  I see it as, let's add to the knowledge the child has.  Let's add to his reading skills.  When people are not discussing children in a positive and valuing way, they won't feel positive about school or valued.  It's not just words here.  When you feel that the school needs good test scores, and you score badly?  You've let down the team.  You're not a great student.

Think about what that does to a child's psyche for a moment there.  It used to be at least that children who were bad students were just bad students.  Now they're seen as jeopardizing the teachers' job and the funding of the entire system.  It's just too heavy a burden to put on these kids.

I know teachers feel absolutely crushing stress over these tests.  But teachers don't have to be there.  No state law is mandating that they walk through those doors every morning.  There are some things more important than doing well on a test, and I feel that helping a child grow up to think that books are his friends is one of them.


  1. Mr. Butler said years ago (10 or so) that it was the kids with special needs who would suffer under No Child Left Behind. He was right.

    He was Ben's resource room teacher in grade school.

    1. And you know what? Those kids suffer enough.


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