Yup. I said it. Actually, I heard it from colleague Jamie Sparks while he was speaking at an event. What he went on to say was that it appears the only time a school or district actually cares about how much sleep a child gets or what they eat for breakfast is on those dreaded statewide standardized testing days.
Years ago, teaching 7th grade, memories of healthier breakfast options during that April week of test taking come to mind. Somebody on my middle school staff read something about peppermint helping with focus. Little baggies of peppermints showed up in our teacher mailboxes immediately to pass out to students as they filled in little bubbles with a No. 2 pencil. Never mind the other 179 days of the year when authentic learning and performance-based assessment was occurring.
What's the end goal of education? That is really the question. I'd say authentic learning with application to the world around us. I'd say demonstration of skills that provide a logical progression of knowledge gain related to all content areas. I'd say social skills and activities that will prepare students for the workforce.
What is the message the education system sends to students, teachers and parents one week of the year but resonates broadly? That message says, "We don't value learning. We value a number." And, it doesn't come from local pressures, might I add. It comes from the top, US Department of Education