Who Is Smart In School?

During the past fifty seven years I have taught over 12,000 teachers and two thousand secondary students. As the years roll by, I have witnesed education “experts,” politicians and every kook in the country offer their ideas as to how to evaluate learning. The current belief by many is that one can judge intelligence by giving youth tests, identify those with high grades, and treat them as the “smart ones.” Of course, this is reality:

1. Abraham Lincoln never went to school and never took a test.

2. President Franklin Roosevelt was a “C” student at Harvard.

3. President Harry Truman never went to college.

4. President Ronald Reagan was not an outstanding student.

5. President Andrew Jackson did not take tests during his limited year or so in school.

Bill de Blasio who is running for mayor of New York argues that tests should not be the only criteria as to who enters special schools for “the gifted.” He wants a variety of factors used to determine entry to elite New York City schools. In the 1920s an experiment was initiated to follow the life careers of a thousand students who had high IQs. Most were successful in the career entered, however, only a handful were innovators. Right on de Blasio.