Monday, February 20, 2006

T minus One and Counting

It’s tomorrow. The day of decision. The day of destiny. The day of reckoning. D-Day. The Last Judgement. The bump at the end of the road. The last supper.

Tomorrow is the TAKS test. The all important, all things hinge on , oh no we don’t teach the test, we teach the curriculum (yeah right!) TAKS test.

It’s a killer day – 8 year old children are expected sit still, and focus on all day reading test. Those who fail get pulled for yet even more intensive tutoring so they can re-take it in May. Those who fail it then end up in summer school so that they can have one more try at it in late June. It’s three strikes and you’re out – or 3 strikes and you repeat the grade. The same goes for the 5th graders.

So much rides on this test – my Principal’s job, our school’s reputation, a teacher’s future class assignment, a child’s future & the neighborhood real estate prices.

Yet so much of it is totally out of our control. We ask the parents to ensure their kids have a good dinner, an early bedtime, a calm morning and a good breakfast. However, we can’t be sure this is going to happen and for some of our kids we know it won’t. Many of our parents have the most tenuous of childcare arrangements and by this time of the month, the cupboards are bare.

There are many things wrong with No Child Left Behind and the emphasis on tests, tests and more tests. The worst thing, in my opinion is that while we only have the kids 8 hours a day, we are still held responsible for what happens to them the other 16. Not to mention what happened to them the first 4 years of their life and the 9 months they spent in utereo.

10 comments:

Library Lady said...

You've hit the nail on the head. We can test them till the moon turns blue, but as long as the programs to help these kids stop once they walk out of the school each day, we will continue to leave kids far, far, behind....

Kathy of the HavinsNest said...

I'm an attendance clerk in a high school. I won't tell you how many parents I called today because their cherub wasn't at school taking TAKS who didn't even know today was TAKS. Sigh.
Several of them had doctor or dental appointments "this afternoon" so, Of Course, they couldn't come to school at 7:35 for something as mundane as a test that determines whether or not they graduate from high school.

Mamacita said...

That is one of the most brilliant summing-up of the whole testing situation that I've ever read.

Mike in Texas said...

I spent the day guarding 9 kids who were exempt from the test. Two were nice kids who are simply not very bright, and about 7 were kids with serious problems. Needless to say putting them all together was like throwing gasoline on a fire. In addition, b/c I was busy a 2nd grade class had to miss Science lab and another missed Computer lab.

MsAbcMom said...

You test them up to 3 times in Texas? Man!

Not that I agree with testing the kids 3 times...

Here in California, all we ever hear is how we need to be more and more like Texas. (because your scores are better than ours) The more I look into it though, I am finding SO many differences between our two states and the way that we administer our tests. We have different standards, different testing procedures, we only give the test once, etc... How can we be compared against each other is we do everything differently? If we have to test, I would prefer that we (as a nation) all do the same, exact thing. Same standards, same testing procedures, etc.

I hate these blasted tests.... I ALMOST want to go to first or kinder. (They don't test!)

La Brown Girl said...

I had to administer a writing test to my kiddos. It was horrible. I was dead tired today, and all I did was walk around. I can just imagine what my kids felt like.

Anyway, you're so right about the whole thing.

GuusjeM said...

Mike,
How does your school get away with not testing kids? We tested EVERYONE but 1 kid in lifeskills who can't be tested since she can't write or speak. Even the recent immigrants took a release test.

Carol said...

I hope TAKS went all right for you...and now it's over and you can breathe easy for awhile. I just hate standardized tests and how much emphasis is put on them.

Tired Tunia said...

What a mess. Once again, it is the kids' home lives that really matter. The level of poverty and education of the parents. And we keep on testing the kids, without adressing what makes them fall behind in the first place. Tests are easier to administer than real solutions. Unfortunately, I don't know what those solutions are, but the current way isn't working too well.

MsAbcMom said...

At what age does testing begin in Texas? We start at second grade in CA.