Sit and stare

It’s a parent-led insurrection, and it’s about losing local control.
Today marks the beginning of New York State Assessment for ELA and math grades 3-8. It’s my understanding that some districts will require non-compliant students to sit for the duration of the exam and do nothing.
“Basically none of our children will be allowed to read,” parent Amanda Talma told WHEC news. “They will have to sit on every testing day, six days for 90 minutes, while their peers are taking those exams.”
The notebook doodles here are by my son, Dwight Perot. Some years, he paid dearly for doodling, but he’s never stopped.
Not showing up won’t work; students marked absent will be forced to do a re-take. There’s incredible pressure for kids and teachers to conform. Principals in the Rochester City School District, for example, received thismemo asking them to identify any teachers who encouraged their students to opt out of the tests.
Bored with your econ homework? Draw.
Ninety minutes of silent staring is beyond discipline; it’s abuse. So if you have a kid in the affected grades and want him to survive the experience, I suggest you send him to school with several sharpened pencils and encourage him to draw. He can draw in his notebook if they aren’t confiscated; if they are, he can draw on the test papers. If his teachers take all the paper away, he can draw on the desk. If they take the pencils, he can draw on the walls with his saliva. Yes, he will be suspended, but do you really want him submitting to that kind of discipline?
Occasionally a student will get a teacher who’s amused by his doodles, but in my experience, complaints are more common.
Drawing is liberating. Drawing is liberation. I would never have lived long enough to graduate had my high school not been tolerant of my doodles and drawings.
In-school doodle by Dwight Perot.
“Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere,” wrote GK Chesterton. A friend sent that quote to me this week. How timely.
Let me know if you’re interested in painting with me on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park in 2015 or Rochester at any time. Click here for more information on my Maine workshops! Download a brochure here.
Carol Douglas

About Carol Douglas

Carol L. Douglas is a painter who lives, works and teaches in Rockport, ME. Her annual workshop will again be held on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park, from August 6-11, 2017. Visit for more information.