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.