Some things really disappoint me

Of all of the things to spend money on and be concerned about in EDUCATING our students, this is not one of them. I’m not faulting the school or the teacher. They’re only playing the game with which they are trapped in by the state.

“Highlights” from the article (emphasis mine):

Photographs of each teacher hang nearby. Next to them are the average test scores for each of their classes, color coded in green, blue and red marker for high, average and low. Picture a super-size spreadsheet.
Teachers also can get bonuses or pink slips based on how their students do.
“the data room” – is the new meeting place for teachers.

Really? You need a “data room” to keep teachers and students focused on goals? What goals? Passing a standardized test that has no actual bearing on success in life? That goal? Wow, our focus is sorely misplaced in Texas. Read the article. $6000 to “design the room.” Salary for someone to be the “improvement coordinator.”

And the goal is to pass a test.

A test that has no bearing on college success.

A test that does nothing to prepare our students for the real, working world.

A test that the state of Texas spends $100,000,000 (that’s 100 MILLION dollars) on each year to administer (not counting local costs) while woefully underfunding actual education and not funding enrollment growth (which grows so fast each year it’s like adding another Fort Worth ISD annually).

A test that steals 25% or our school calendar to administer (not counting prep and practice days).

A test that does nothing but prepare our kids to take more tests.

A test that kills the love of learning in students.

A test that kills the love of teaching in teachers.

A test that kills innovation.

A test that kills creativity.

A test.

This is not what I want for my children. This is not what I want for other children. This is not what I want for our staff.

At what point will the Texas Legislature realize that if they truly want to be “successful” like the world’s leader, Finland (read that link, it’s worth your time), they have to go the opposite direction. You know, the direction that includes critical thinking, problem solving, free exploration of a subject as opposed to rote memorization. The one that mandates equity among ALL students and schools. The one that focuses on building successful citizenry.

Yeah, that one. </rant>

12 thoughts on “Some things really disappoint me

  1. Thank you! I long for the day when that picture above looks like a children’s museum and they are bragging about how the hands on work by the kids will forever shape how they will learn and think and make decisions. Then again, that doesn’t fit well in a campaign stump speech without the cry of percentage numbers and the fear of failure for children.

  2. That photograph is one of the most horrifying images I have ever seen and will probably give me nightmares — so sad… so ashamed that this is from a school in my city… so afraid that it’s only one “data room” of many…

  3. Agreed, Stephanie. I wanted to be more harsh in my comments of what they are doing, but I just can’t ignore the fact that the Texas Legislature and Sandy Kress got us here. Ticks me off they fail to use any common sense.

  4. Today in class we were discussing synonyms for ridiculous. The kids came up with odd, akward, weird, silly, goofy, foolish, strange…I think they ALL apply to this idea!

  5. Pingback: About That “Data Room” | Change Agency

  6. You’ve hit the nail right on the head. What in the world is it teaching our kids in Texas? It just makes me sick and really worried about the future of our students. So costly and for what?

  7. Until we elect ‘leaders’ who support, appreciate, and understand real education, we will stay stuck in this hole driven by standardized assessments. Sadly, everyone we elect gets bought off by Sandy Kress (Pearson’s lobbyist in Austin) and we gain no ground. There has to be systemic change on everyone’s part to move away from this. The only way to avoid the test is keep kids home sick on test day(s). Maybe more parents should consider that option and get their point across to the state. We have moved beyond ridiculous levels in testing.

  8. Wow 25% of the calendar to administer a test. That would be nearly 50 days here in Minnesota. The reality is students spend a part of 4 to 6 days taking the state test – usually a few hours of these days. Its not about testing it is about standards and measuring the success of student achievement. If we are going to educate our kids we owe it to them to be specific in our learning targets and to measure our success.

  9. I’m with you, Jim. For us, it is 45 days. That is a lot of lost instructional time. Finally, just this week, our education commissioner announced in a speech that Texas has finally gotten to the point where he considers testing a “perversion of its original intent.” He also says he expects a backlash in the next legislative session. He immediately had pushback from several lobbyists who support the testing industry as well as the chair of the senate education committee. Then again, the chair is not running for re-election, so who cares what she thinks.

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