Does being focused on exam results actually get in the way of a child's education? Engel, writing in the NYT, thinks so. In her article, "Playing to Learn," she envisions her ideal primary school curriculum -- free of a "laundry list of goals... and... devoted instead to just a few narrowly defined and deeply focused goals".
If school was just all about the kids and their needs, I'd agree with her. Unfortunately, though we would like to think it was, the whole community wants their hands in the pie, and everybody has a stake in how our little "future leaders" are going to be raised.
The government wants a workforce that can sustain and even grow the economy; the economy wants loyal consumers and a competent and relevant employee pool; parents want the best (which Indicators are they most likely to identify as "The Best", anyway? A slew of Awards, perhaps? Track record of 'A' grades?) for their kids; the kids want some meaning to their lives apart from the prospect of lifelong enslavement to an inescapable cycle of work-earn-shop-rinse-repeat; and we staff want to remain employed by doing our best to satisfy everybody. Ergo, laundry list.
Sorry, kids. It's time to face facts. School does not revolve around you alone.