At Least We Feed Kids Well During Test Week

– Posted in: Complaining, School, Tammy Thinks, Worst Mom Rants

The kids are in the middle of evil government testing week. This is the way to determine if your school is “good” because everyone knows that sitting kids down and having them fill in bubbles is the best measure of their intelligence. Just ask Einstein. Or Leonardo da Vinci. Or Legolas (apparently Orlando Bloom, the guy who played him, has dyslexia — I’m not going to speculate about what Elves have to go through as far as education). scanning test -- fill in the bubble

Anyway, I always think it’s funny when they send home notices to make sure we “have the kids get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy breakfast.” One teacher even asked that we not watch TV. I’m not laughing because I think these are bad ideas — I’m just wondering why we’re only supposed to do them for one week out of the year.

Apparently this morning at school, Elfie got “second breakfast” (I know — two Lord of the Rings references in one post) so that everyone was well-fed for the test. Again, not sure whether to laugh or cry.

I understand the school wanting to make sure the kids do the absolute best they can on the tests — they don’t have a choice. But it makes me want to scream that we put teachers up to this. That instead of treating them like professionals whose craft should be respected, we act like they’re unskilled laborers who’ve previously been busted for using on the job, so now we need to have them pee in a cup every 6 months.

I don’t have all the answers to fix our failing school system. But I do know that measuring a child’s progress, blaming it on the teacher, cutting the school’s funding, and creating a rigorous teach-to-the-test environment isn’t helping anyone. Not when there are a million differences between kids, their learning styles, their socio-economic situations, and their school environments.

And certainly not if we want to find and encourage that next generation of Einsteins, da Vincis, and Legolases.




16 Comments… add one

Polly Elledge April 30, 2013, 1:38 am

Don’t get me started….
But I just have to say that in addition to the other issuess, the assumption is that all students will do their very best and therefore the test is a fine measure of what they know. That may be true for second graders but it’s absolute insanity for high school students.

Tammy May 5, 2013, 4:29 pm

I always wondered this about high school students. At least right now, we tell the kids to do their best for the school and they want to because they love their school!

Andrea April 30, 2013, 4:41 am

grrrrrrr…our testing was last week (3 days of math) and the week before (3 days of ela). I am going to keep myself calm, and not go all ranty in your space (and fully agree with you), but do they realize that I feed my kids and put them to bed at decent hours EVERY DAY!?!?(just sayin’)
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Tammy May 5, 2013, 4:29 pm

Oh, don’t ever feel like you have to hold back here. Rant away…

Cheryl S. April 30, 2013, 6:17 am

What Andrea said! And what you said! (Btw, LOVE the LotR references!)

These tests are ridiculous. They don’t help anything or anyone. They are based on a lie, a proven lie, and yet, we keep pushing forth, shoving the lie down everyone’s throat. That would be akin to me coming up with a cure for cancer, and although my “cure” has been discredited as not curing anything, the medical community insisting you use my treatment. Really?

I want to move to Finland. Who’s with me?

Tammy May 5, 2013, 4:30 pm

I so want to move to Finland with you. Or the Netherlands. If only we didn’t have to learn a new language…

There’s always Australia or New Zealand. Then we could get our LotR on like crazy!

Andrea April 30, 2013, 6:54 am

I volunteer in my kids’ school and it astounds and saddens me when I hear the teachers drill subject matter then punctuate it saying things like “you might be asked this on the test.” Despite knowing the material, a kid may still do poorly. The teachers feel like their jobs are in children’s hands. A scary thought.
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Tammy May 5, 2013, 4:31 pm

Perfectly said. The teachers feel like their jobs are in the children’s hands. And that is so, so, so (how many times can I say so) wrong!

Kelly DeBie April 30, 2013, 8:41 am
Tammy May 5, 2013, 4:32 pm

So many. You and I could write a book (No! Not another project!).

Lisa Cohen April 30, 2013, 9:45 am

Opt out. Write your principals, teachers and superintendents and inform them that your children will not be taking any standardized tests. That includes field tests, where your kid gets to work for Pearson, et al, for free to help develop next year’s test. Your letter is your statement of refusal. My 9-year-old’s Doc even offered to write her a note to exempt her! Nothing will happen to your school, your teacher or your kid. Legally no punitive measure can be taken against any of them. In order to have consequences for the school, 95% of students in the school must opt out. My girls were allowed to leave the classroom and go to their libraries to read while tests were taking place. They whizzed right through a jumbo bag of library books!

Carol the long winded May 1, 2013, 10:42 am

Oh god, no, Tammy DON’T DO THAT! Your kids are probably perfectly wonderful at taking the tests, and those tests are needed to balance out the English language learners, the kids that ate at 5 am, or not at all, that are sick or have a learning disability. The punitive measure is against the school and the teachers!

For what it is worth – P (in 5th grade) was writing essays or drawing to explain his math reasoning. He enjoyed it, although he found it difficult to write out why 4/8 = 1/2 (he did get to the common denominator, but he also drew something to show it.)

When I was not getting my masters in Education the hard way, I did a huge research paper on the effects of breakfast before school – this was just before the oatmeal program started, and I asked about 75 kids what they had for breakfast and when – a lot didn’t have breakfast but a lot, esp’ly before care kids, ate very early and did need another meal right before school. (Low glycemic index foods are best but even a candy bar is better than nothing.) And then we have a far number of kids at the school from households that may not have enough food at home too.

Tammy May 5, 2013, 4:38 pm

No, I know. They’re stuck. I really try to have them look at this as a “do it for your school” thing. Which is just wrong on its own. And I don’t know what P said to you, but according to mine, the tests were kind of a joke. Really short and, yeah, not much in the way of depth. So they really build this stuff up. I don’t even know what to say about that. It all just confuses and annoys the hell out of me.

Tammy May 5, 2013, 4:33 pm

I would love to, but that would take such a concerted effort on the part of so many parents. And not to toot my kids’ horns, but I know they drive the test scores up. I’d hate for the school to lose their statistical advantage by having them opt out.

Cheryl S. May 1, 2013, 7:59 am

Lisa, that’s true for some states, but not all. It does vary. I mean, there’s not a LOT they can do, but some schools, for instance, won’t let a kid participate in sports if they don’t take their tests the prior year.

And it’s not even really about the test itself. To me, the problem is more in the fact that they spend all year teaching TO the test. Not to the kids. Not to curiosity. Not to natural inquisitive dialogue. If they get off topic even a little, they have to veer back to the test. And this is ALL YEAR LONG.

We need to opt out of school altogether until they straighten that out, and unfortunately, that’s not an option for most of us. And it is sad.

Tammy May 5, 2013, 4:34 pm

Point taken. That’s the problem. The test is one week a year (or many, depending on how many different ones they do). The teaching is all year long.

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