Saturday, April 28, 2007

Mr. Silva-Brown, why are there tests anyway?

I answer this in a variety of ways to my Seniors, and I'm blatantly honest. See, this year we have jumped into "incentive mode" with many of the other academic institutions by implementing a variety of prizes for taking idiotic tests that serve no purpose but to pacify ignorant constituents. Pizza, ice cream, class rings, Homecoming Points for next year, cash........yes, we too have stooped to a new low because the idiot parents that sign their kids out (and then bitch about AYP/API scores later) need a real reason to send their kids to school. Here's a funny reaction, a lot of kids are embarrassed about the school offering prizes.

I tell my Seniors that the STAR test is needed for the following reasons:

1) Because society is too lazy to really investigate the problems with education, and want the answer in a tiny test score/soundbite. I don't tell them the other part of this; that parents don't want to hear that they are a huge part of the problem.

2) Because politicians want to get elected.

3) Because many teachers are not getting it done.

Yes, I commit the cardinal sin of teaching, I tell my students that part of the reason we are testing is because some of us are not getting it done. And guess what, they already know that. By the way, they already know that parents aren't getting it done too. In fact, you might be shocked at how well many students really know "the system", and many simply maneuver down the nicely paved roads that we create for them. Students, even those that don't really give a shit, know full well the teachers that are trying to feed them jive and teachers that really give a damn. Of course, many of those teachers that hate the test don't take the test seriously, and then don't demand that the students take the tests seriously, and that is simply totally unacceptable.

Might I remind some of my colleagues in our profession that regardless of our feelings about testing, we have a professional job to due. Part of that job is that we have to humble up once a year and give in to the bullshit that is STAR testing. We don't get to sign out, we agree to that every year that we agree to return to the profession. We don't get ice cream or pizza, we jump through the hoops so that we can move on to other things that we can teach to get our students to really succeed. When teachers decide to not take the tests seriously, they make the conscious choice to screw the school district by putting everyone towards that goal of "Program Improvement", which means the elimination of electives and the intervention of the state. In the end, the kids suffer.

It's two weeks out of the year. The test sucks, is pointless, and society really has no clue.

It doesn't matter. Get over it. We are professionals, we have a job to do, so do it.

Suck it up.
blog comments powered by Disqus