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. RowlingHarry 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.


  1. OMGOSH...your poor kids...did you allude to MOVING again..surely not - surely you just mean the kids getting older???
    Sounds typical...Up High decide to Make Changes that sound terrific...but it just doesn't make it sensibly all the way down the food chain. And it's ALWAYS the kids that suffer. Just sounds ridiculous....our Mob over here have been trying to get a national curriculum for donkey's years [they must live a very, very long time]...looks like they're on the way. However each state believes THEIR way is best, most effective....& doesn't want to do it another way. Sigh. All I can say is make sure your kids are reading LOTS & writing helps...looks like you'll be making a few more emergency dashes to Nice Food Places. Good luck!

  2. This absolutely makes me so mad to hear. Those poor kids are, as you say, just guinea pigs to some self important, I'm justifying my job, empty headed officials who didn't get their jobs until they were too old to remember HOW HARD IT IS BEING A KID these days.
    My DGD has 31 kids in her class, there are 22 languages/dialects spoken by the kids at the school, and it makes my blood boil at the amount of extra pen pushing the poor teachers have to do to keep up with "TARGETS" set by the government! Hope Lizzy is right and it's just the kids moving to No4, not another family move! Have a hug Mitra you need one. xx

  3. Wow, what a bummer. Kudos to you for looking into things and providing support to the kids. Chocolate is definitely a cure-all. :)

  4. Absolutely. Dementors for sure!!! Sucking the life right out of children everywhere. I'm sorry your kids were so stressed. Mine have been inconsolable about the entire thing. They hate it and are SO anxious! Hugs.

  5. *SIGH* I really hate it when kids are put through the grind for no fault of theirs. Hope things get better and YAY! to hot chocolate.

  6. Poor kids - that's just not fair.
    I'm not sure a standard curriculum over the whole nation is so good. They tried it here in the UK. And don't you have a federal system - how would they all agree? Can you imagine the fight over whether they should teach creation theory or evolution?
    I think if it was that bad here I would hope the teachers would take some form of industrial action to stop it. Lizzy's probably right - best you can do is help them learn what you think they need to know.

  7. My goodness our kids only get one chance to be a child..It is a bugger if the school systems are letting them down.. I hope things improve for them... and for you..

  8. I hate standardised exams for young kids with a vengeance ...hope you all survive it!
    Alison xx

  9. It's amazing how schools around the world are still so far from perfect. So you are moving again? That's news to me! I've missed out a bit recently as I've been so busy hardly been on blogs. We are on school number 5 with Jack - his last year so should be his last. Would move the other 2 if we could afford it. Their schools suck... Hope your little people don't panic as at least they have understanding folks!


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