The Cupcake Test

I received permission from Marianne to post her entire comment below. This originally appeared as a reply within the comments section of a recent Diane Ravitch post. I thought the comment was so insightful, that I wanted it to stand out on its own. Thank you, Marianne.

By Marianne Giannis
November 5, 2013 at 8:38 am
Here is my idea of how to be heard since the “reform” leaders don’t seem to hear the protests, emails, meetings etc. I call it “The Cupcake Test.” Read below to understand what this test is all about. Perhaps the people in power will start to understand what is important to children, parents, teachers, and schools if they receive cupcakes with a message. For example, a cupcake with “freedom to learn” written upon it. It’s worth a try.

The Cupcake Test

I teach 1st through 6th grade at a private, non-profit Montessori school in Wisconsin. We don’t do any standardized testing of any kind at our school. So let me rephrase my first sentence: I teach all day, every day, for nine months out of the year at a Montessori school.

I love the little bubble that I am so fortunate to go to every day. The children I teach are happy, curious, capable people and I enjoy having conversations, making discoveries, and trying out new things with them. I don’t like to even call them “my students” because so much of what they learn is a result of their own personal quest to know more about the world: past, present, and future. It is a really nice place to work, teach, and learn and I think that they feel the same way.

But I also like to know what is going on beyond this wonderful bubble. Outside of my school bubble, these happy, curious, capable people would be referred to as learners. Outside of the bubble, their knowledge would not be solely for their own personal benefit but used as data. Their experiences would not be unique but standardized, franchised, and homogenized across the county as we, as a nation, collectively run this “Race to the Top.” I wish that every child, teacher, and parent could join me in my bubble. Sorry, everyone else in eduland, you are not invited.

Here is my solution to educational reform that is easy, simple, and cheap. I call it the “Cupcake Test.” How do schools get the things that they really want? Bake sales. If parents, students, and teachers really want something for their school, they hold bake sales. If the cause is really important to them, people will take the time to bring in plates of cupcakes and then other people will buy them. How would the Common Core reform stand up to the cupcake test? Let’s say CCSS vs. fictional books, or CCSS vs. freedom from standardized testing, or CCSS vs. time to get to know each student, CCSS vs. learning just because it is what makes life interesting? Which cause do you think would win?

So here’s my point. Would we as a nation have supported this latest educational reform if it had to be funded by cupcakes or is it being initiated because there is so much corporate funding providing the money? Is it really important to the parents, students, and teachers and did anyone in eduland take a moment to ask them?

View the original comment in context at Diane’s post here:


Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. Reblogged this on Schools of Thought – NY and commented:
    Behold the power and significance of a simple bake sale. Who needs Gates anyway?


Have something to say? Please take a moment to comment. Thanks.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: