Tuesday, October 25, 2005

No costumes, please, we're teaching to the test

Some Colorado "educators" are going to great lengths to show how hard they are working to raise standardized test scores. The latest gimmick at some schools is to ban school Halloween parties.

I think for the most part the real reason schools are doing away with Halloween during the day has to do with the disruption and the loss of instructional time," agrees Mike Crawford, principal at Palmer Elementary in Denver.

The hallways at Palmer are decked with yarn-and-construction-paper witches and black bats carrying messages from second-graders on "What drives me batty." But there will be no party; it will be business as usual.

Other schools keep the party but try to make it "educational."

Carson [Elementary] holds a Literacy Day, this year on Friday rather than Monday, Oct. 31. Children get costumes and candy, but the catch is they must dress up as a character from a book and tote said book during the parade.

At least we are hearing less about it being an "occult holiday," but one principal remembers that objection too:

As a veteran educator, he has been hearing Halloween objections, especially religious ones, since the early 1980s. But he says he must respect the [pro-Halloween] majority opinion in his school.

"We're not worshiping anything," he says. "We're playing dress-up."

And he dresses up right along with the kids. Too many of these principals seem to have forgotten that a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, as the flying nanny sang.



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