If I'd Had to Take DISD's Art, Music and P.E. Tests, I Would Have Failed

Providing yet another reason for me to be thankful I never have to attend another day of primary school, The Dallas Morning News' Matthew Haag enumerated a little of what's on DISD's controversial exams for elective courses in elementary school Thursday afternoon. They are tough.

The list is littered with stuff I couldn't do now, much less when I was a kid. Kindergarten art students are expected to "[c]reate artworks using a variety of lines, shapes, colors, textures, and forms." Maybe, maybe expecting a 5-year-old to color within the lines is reasonable, but to appropriately use texture? C'mon.

The humiliation I would have felt after failing to make a coherent work of art would have been nothing compared with what would have happened after chubby little 8-year-old Stephen bombed the P.E. assessment of course performance. I would have been expected to "travel independently in a large group while safely and quickly changing speed and direction, demonstrate mature form in skipping, demonstrate balance in symmetrical and non-symmetrical shapes from different basis of support, demonstrate smooth transition from one body part to the next in rolling activities such as log roll, demonstrate on cue key elements of foot dribble." In the last couple of years, I've tripped twice -- that I can remember -- going up the steps on a DART bus. Demonstrate "mature form in skipping?" Nope.

As for the music tests, I would be willing to wager a large sum of money that at least half of you reading this couldn't pass them either. Who among us can "sing with accurate intonation and rhythm, independently?" Has DISD Superintendent Mike Miles ever been to a karaoke night here?

The next time you want to say anything about how kids these days are soft, just be glad you don't have to "demonstrate controlled balance on a variety of objects such as scooters," as DISD fifth-graders are expected to do, any time soon.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young

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