“Angela. Angela! Get over here! They’re having a JOB INTERVIEW in the middle of the store!” I blinked at my friend. Seriously? Her eyes were gigantic and she was gesturing furiously to my right while trying not to burst out laughing. “Yeah, you gotta come check this out.”
I walked over to the other side of the rack and fiddled with a lip gloss display while I eavesdropped. Sure enough, a manager was interviewing a young girl right there next to a perfectly-lit display of overpriced eyeshadow. I snuck a second glance. Whoa. The manager wore a black pantsuit. The girl’s ensemble included sneakers, exposed bra straps, and thick aqua eyeliner.
Manager: Tell me about a time when you truly excelled at something.
Girl: [chomping on her gum] Well, I got a level 6 on the FCAT Writing in 8th grade.
Manager: [Blank stare] I see.
I shifted my eyes over to the pair. The girl looked smug. The manager looked completely bewildered.
That was the last interview question.
How did we convince students that earning an excellent score on a standardized test is something that employers value? Sure, she got a 6 on the FCAT Writing, and that’s no small feat, if it’s true–she should probably be looking for work as a freelance writer rather than hawking bronzer. But she must have been absent the day they taught students how to dress appropriately for a job interview.
Assuming that day ever happened.
My friend, who is also an educator, exchanged glances with me. With identically-raised eyebrows, we communicated the same sad sentiment: We’ve succeeded in convincing kids that test scores are important. And, apparently, we’ve failed at showing them that they’re meaningless in the workforce.
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