professornana (professornana) wrote,
professornana
professornana

Keeping you a secret

In so many schools in my area, this is the week of STAAR testing (as an aside, how many kids will not be able to spell the simple word STAR correctly after all the test prep and push?). In some locations, teachers must surrender their cell phones. Why? Because, you know, they must spend all day actively monitoring the test. And because, well, they might be tempted to take a photo of the test and make it public. Teachers have to sign an agreement that they will not divulge test content. Talk about cloak and dagger.

There is so much secrecy surrounding this state test, a test that can determine graduation, promotion, course selections, and even teachers' salaries if the state has its way (and Arne Duncan is already in favor of VAM). Kids, who have spent a great deal of time benchmarking (taking practice tests and being tutored as a result of their scores) already this school year. Now they are attending pep rallies for the test (I kid you not) and then being told that they need to do their very best on the test. Some kids are being pressured (my own College Girl felt incredible pressure to do score a perfect 100% on all the tests) to perform. Many kids are anxious; I suspect a few are in tears. And this is all before the tests are scored and the scores reported.

How I wish copies of the tests could fall into the wrong hands. Where is Edward Snowden when we need him? I would love for the STAAR and all the other tests developed by Pearson (has anyone calculated how much $$$ they will make with all these tests?) to be made public. I would love for all the state board members to take all these tests and have their scores not only made public but used to determine their salaries. I would love to see the journalists (especially those who support the CCSS without question--I'm looking at you MSNBC) take these tests as well. And I think Coleman, Rhee, Duncan and the others who think testing is a good way of determining the quality of instruction to have sit in a room and take test after test after test after test.

How dare we permit a single snapshot like STAAR to place a value on the learning our kids are experiencing? How dare we care so little about that which cannot be measured? Empathy? Kindness? Compassion? Passion? What do we value? It is a simple choice. If we value the kids, we need to do all we can to ensure they are not pigeonholed by this insane testing. No child is a score, a number, a percentile. They are flesh and blood. They are mind and body and soul. They deserve better than a score.
Tags: idiocy, testing
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