Friday, April 19, 2013
New York State Dementors & High Stakes Testing
“You can exist without your soul, you know, as long as your brain and heart are still working. But you’ll have no sense of self anymore, no memory, no . . . anything. There’s no chance at all of recovery. You’ll just — exist. As an empty shell. And your soul is gone forever . . . lost.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
So, my kids have gone to three different schools. Of course, it would have been less had we known we were moving. Crystal ball was not working the day we made that decision.
School A failed to teach them spelling so we moved them to School B. School B had approx. 25 kids per grade and failed to teach my son handwriting or my daughter cursive, the months/days, and how to tell time. I know these things because School C has told me.
Hoping when we get to School D as we have to move again that we'll be all up to snuff. ;-)
I wondered for a while how three different schools across New York could have a different curriculum but since I majored in rocks in college that it was for reasons I could not fathom.
Fast forward to last night.
Kids came home melted like ice cream on a hot sidewalk. I took one look at their vacant faces and opted to take them out to eat. Figured the drive would give me a few minutes to find out what exactly happened at school. I mean, I knew standardized testing had started so something was up. During the day yesterday, I got several interesting news paper articles talking about parents boycotting state tests and an e-mail from the Superintendent the night before asking us not to boycott.
For the most part I leave the school alone. I figure they have jobs to do and hopefully are doing them.
I also figured that some of it was drama. There is lots of drama around the industry I work in, 'bout time someone else had some.
I do start paying attention when my kids start bitching. They don't normally so it's a good indication that something is up and it's not good.
Lexi told me that she was pretty sure she would have to take a remedial class as she was sure she screwed up big time on the test for English/Reading. She said this with a slight quiver in her voice. She not one to cry over trivial matters, but it looked like it was bothering her.
Luke said the whole thing was terrible and his brain hurt.
Fed them ice cream and decided to call the school the next day.
In my conversation with Lexi's school, I realized just how screwed up the whole thing was.
My kids are not being tested on curriculum that they have actually learned as the school has not received it as of yet. So, if Lexi has to take classes, it will be on things she has not learned in the first place. There is nine hours of brutal testing this week and nine the next and I heard it's HARD, like adults won't get the answers right hard.
It almost sounds like they are guinea pigs for this new testing and curriculum....
The school is in between a rock and a hard place. They think the whole testing thing is stinky, not to mention the fact they don't even have the right stuff to teach. Plus, they have to grin and bear it when grouchy parents bawl them out over rules they did not make nor agree with.
I am imagining the fine folks in Albany who came up with the rules are Dementors. I told Lexi's Principal to serve up some hot chocolate Harry Potter style to counteract the trauma. Perhaps they can't as that might not fit in with new Federal School Lunch Standards...which I am also still upset about.
Looks like we are in for a long haul of tweaking a mostly broken testing system. The light at the end of the tunnel may however be a curriculum that is the same across the nation, which IS a good thing.
Hoping common sense will prevail soon or we'll all be drinking plenty of hot chocolate.