Writing my way through the school year!

Posts tagged ‘No Child Left Behind Act’

Standardized Testing Stole Our Day!

I planned in advance and completely forgot that we were having the standardized Math test today! Bummer!
Wonderful plans put on hold….

This is what my students and I lost today because Standardized testing took a day from us…

The chance to read an article on Tweentribune and post comments and/or leave a comment on our Quadblogging friends website.
Sharing laughter over the Brainpop Joke of the Day and viewing/discussing the video offered on Wonderopolis.
Reinforcing the concept of multiplication clusters, which they struggled with. Having the students who were ready, create, solve, and post their original story problems using GoAnimate.
Reading “The Lemonade War” out loud, and discussing and sharing using Today’s Meet.
Having students work on their Reading Choice board activities.Read More…

“The Teacher and the Politician” – NCLB and RTT

This “conversation” takes place over a period of  years. The politician represents all politicians(any party) and the teacher represents all teachers (those who are affected by these ridiculous ideas our politicians and CEOs’ come up with.)

Politician: (Talking to a teacher) I have this great idea. It’s called NCLB, No Child Left Behind, sounds good right? No Child Left Behind, every child can and will learn. Like it?

Teacher: Hmmm, it sounds like a good idea, what does it mean?

Politician: Well, (stroking chin), it means no child will be left behind. It means we’re going to test the hell, I mean, heck out of those kids, and by golly, they will become really, really, smart!

Teacher: I don’t think testing them is going to make them really smart, as a matter of fact, all it will do is create a nation of test takers.

Politician: Hmmm, I never thought of that. (Waves hand) We’ll look into that. But (pointing finger), in the meantime, here are the consequences if a measurable amount of students in your school don’t pass these tests.

Teacher: Consequences?  I thought you said you would look into it.

Politician:  We will, we will. If your school does not show measurable growth, we will notify the public that your school sucks. Did I say sucks? I meant that your school is horrible.

Teacher: Are you serious?  If our students don’t pass one test, our school, no matter how well we have been doing, will be judged according to those test scores?                                                                                                                                                                                   

Politician: Yes, how else will the public know what schools are crappy?  We’ll post your school scores in the paper, to make sure you are properly humiliated, and, just to make sure we’re helping the students, we will fire all the teachers and administrators. And here’s the plus, the parents can move their kids out of the crappy schools and put them in Save Our Schools March & National Call to Actionthe better schools.

Teacher:  Better, as in test score better? (shakes head) Let me say if I got this right. You are going to humiliate a school, fire staff, and have parents move their students to another school,  based on one test score?

Politician: Yes, we are going to hold you teachers accountable! You have gotten away with doing nothing for our children for far too long!

Teacher:     What about Special Education students? Or non-English speaking students? Will they take the same test?

Politician:   And why not?  Why should they be left behind? 

Teacher: You do realize there are far too many factors that affect a students’ ability to learn and function in a classroom that would enable us to say “No Child Left Behind?” And what do you think is going to happen to critical thinking? differentiated instruction? gifted and talented programs?  special education? the arts? Recess? Field trips? Do you realize that schools will only focus on testing?

Politician: Hmmmm, never thought of that. Oh well, we’ll work on it. How about if I give you more money than other teachers in your school if your kids do better? It’s called Merit pay. No? (Years go by) Hey, I have a new idea, it’s called, you ready? Race to the Top! Like it?

Teacher:    What does it mean? Who’s racing to the top?

Politician:   It;s a competition among states, vying for millions of  federal money to throw at any education problems you have. The states with the most points out of 500, will win the money!

Teacher:      And we can do whatever we need to do with the money?

Politician:   Of course you can! As long as you follow the federal governments rules AND you keep testing your students. It’s a win-win situation!

Teacher:    But it’s been proven, again and again, standardized testing doesn’t work! Throwing money at schools doesn’t work! Education reform designed by non-educators doesn’t work! Aaargh! (Tearing at hair)

Politician:    Oh by the way, we’ve decided you teachers have too much power. We’re taking away your collective bargaining power.

Teacher:     @#$^&*!

Politician:    And, the economy is really bad now, so we all have to make sacrifices. We’re increasing class sizes.

Teacher:     *&^%$!

Politician:    I don’t think that language is necessary,ok listen, we have another solution.  If you go along with Arne Duncan’s vision, we will waive some of the rigorous requirements of NCLB. How’s that sound?

Teacher:        Jump from the frying pan into the fire? How is that better?  Why aren’t you listening to us?

Politician:    We are listening. (starts to walk away)

Teacher:       Good luck to your kids who are in public school!

Politician: (Chuckles)  Are you kidding me?  My kids don’t go to public school!

Testing!Testing! 1…2…3

It’s that time again! Actually, for me this is the third time my students will be taking the state test. When Delaware opted out of the DSTP,(Delaware State Testing Program) I was thrilled! We used to take the DSTP  in March, even though we had not finished teaching the curriculum.  We would actually lose about two weeks of teaching(and learning) time while our kids took that test.  Not to mention the time we were forced to teach to the test.

Delaware has a new system called DCAS( Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System) in which we test the students three times a year.  The beginning , the middle, and  the end of the year.  The students take the test online, and get their results right away. I was excited because the students could take the test online, they would know their score right away, we only spend two days testing, and each child would be judged by their  individual progress. And best of all, student promotion would no longer be based on one test.. I thought it would be better, but I’ve come to the conclusion that state testing is , how can I put it, not good for students or teachers.

New test, same stuff. Little has changed. Our student scores are still compared to the district and the states.  We are judged by  the cutoff score that decides whether or not we actually taught. Our school will still be” under review” if  we don’t meet the NCLB guidelines.   I still  spend time teaching to the test, and to make it worse,  this year they’ve added a Science (K-5) assessment to the 5th grade.

All this testing is stressful! I think what I despise most of all with testing, is not the actual testing, but what is done with the student test scores. These scores should be used to improve how we teach,or  used as a method to differentiate instruction.  Instead, the scores are used as a tool to punish and humiliate districts, schools, and teachers. Our pay is not tied to these tests, but I’m sure that’s coming as well.

Use state testing for good, and I’m all for it. Unfortunately, for now, as far as I’m concerned,  it’s being used for evil!

“When Will the Testing Bubble Burst?”                                                                        

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