In Virginia the tests that are given to all school children under the No Child Left Behind Act are called the Standards Of Learning tests, or “SOLs.”
Yes, many people sat around in a room and named the tests SOL. Did anyone say, “Hey isn’t that the common shorthand for Shit Out of Luck?” I guess we’ll never know. As it turns out, the name describes the test perfectly, because if the schools don’t do well on their SOL tests, they’re SOL.
Recently, it’s been “news” that perhaps getting one hundred percent of school-age children to pass these types of tests all around the country is surprise! impossible. However, when you’ve locked yourself in with a catchy name like No Child Left Behind, it’s really hard to back off. No Child Left Behind Except Joey, Tina, and Angel just doesn’t fly.
At the time it was a great name, because when anyone brought up anything against the act like the fact that it’s impossible to achieve supporters could indignantly say that the evil person speaking up wanted to leave a child behind. But now the name has become an albatross, and yet another proof to me of the power of words.
What made me think of all this today? A Year of Reading posted something that apparently has been passed around among teachers, but by golly, I’d never seen it. It’s a perfect description of what No Child Left Behind looks like from a different perspective.