As everyone knows, hate is something that people learn and oftentimes it is created by a fear of what is not known and what is different. Unfortunately, from recent news, it is clear that this kind of hate begins early. It’s hard to see news stories of prejudice in schools, in which kids doing and saying hateful things to their peers. These are kids who are far too young to understand the severity of the issue they are adding fire to. Part of the problem is the adults who preach deep prejudice because young kids repeat what they hear. However, that makes teaching tolerance in school even more important because it may be the only other place where kids can be exposed to knowledge that they can base their morals on. I’m not saying teachers should be pushing politics on their students. This is about teaching kids to respect each other’s differences, not fear them. It’s about looking past gender, race, birthplace, disabilities, sexual orientation, and religious belief. Childhood is not a time to worry about being harassed by classmates because of bigotry. It’s a time to create friendships, and most importantly, to learn. Children are our future, and their education should be held at the highest regard. By teaching kids to love instead of hate, hopefully they will grow into adults that pave the way for progress by creating a world in which no child has to grow up in fear of others who do not try to understand them. It is not an easy goal to work towards but I believe it is one worth fighting for.

Though there has been a huge debate in whether or not this county’s increasing use of technology is good or bad for children, I believe one area it can really help is in the classroom. One of the biggest problems I think technology can address is the issue of high stakes testing like SOL’s in elementary schools. I know they will probably be around for a while , but I do think there are issues with them that make them not completely reliable in assessing achievement in kids or educating them. In order for SOLS to truly be useful in educating children, the scores need to come back much quicker and the missed questions need to be accessible to teachers, parents, and students in order to identify what subject matter students need to work on. Simply seeing a number and not being given the opportunity to understand mistakes does not educate-it monitors.  You also have issues such as testing anxiety that can influence scores and a limit on the curriculum, which can take time away from other important subjects and the fostering of creativity. I believe alternate methods can and should be used for assessing achievement in early education. One idea, called Team Robot, uses computer software interaction of different assessments in the classroom all throughout the year to create graphs and statistics automatically. Many classrooms in America already use computer software in the classroom like Khan Academy, so it is not a far-fetched idea. Essentially it would be a stealth assessment so kids aren’t pressured and the curriculum doesn’t have to be shut down for test preparation. The issue of kids not being in a good state of mind on test day won’t be a problem anymore because the scores will averaged and it won’t only be tests. This will allow students, parents, and teacher to assess progress throughout multiple years and in multiple areas of learning, therefore truly showing achievement