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Mon Oct 20, 2014, 11:31 PM

Special Ed teacher alarmed at amount of testing as she returns to public schools after 6 years.

I also posted this in General Discussion forum just for overall attention to such a serious problem.

Give a rec there if you can.

This is from Ms Katie's Ramblings by Katie Osgood. She writes of returning to public schools after six years teaching in a hospital setting.

Testing is Destroying My School

She also writes at Twitter

In just the first six weeks of school, I have administered more pointless, random, unnecessarily difficult tests to my students than I can count. We have barely had more than two consecutive days to simply teach where we were not interrupted by some ridiculous mandated assessment. There’s the REACH (for teacher evaluation purposes only), On-Demand Writing Tasks, tests that go to our network, tests for the district, tests because our school in on probation, and placement tests to use the TWO online test prep programs our school is forced to use weekly. These tests are not aligned to the curriculum, they don’t measure what we are actually learning in class, they are not tied to a broader unit of study. These are tests just to feed the data monsters.

..... And it’s not just the tests, it’s also the test prep. We have not one, but two online test prep programs our school is mandated to use weekly. 45 mins per week, per subject, plus an assessment in one program and completion of 2-3 “lessons” in another used directly for math. These expensive programs are basically test prep questions presented in a video game format. Get the “right” answer and earn coins to play games. In some classes, these programs take up as much as 40% of instructional time each week. Even our little kindergartners are forced to get on iPads and practice taking tests. Our Early Childhood teachers know this is wrong. In fact, all our teachers know this is wrong. But the answer to every question we ask is…”because this is what they need to know for PARCC (the Common Core aligned test.)”

.... And what’s worse, I am a special education teacher, so my students are the most fragile of all. And these tests are killing any possibility to motivate my kids. There are only so many times I can repeat the mantra that “These don’t matter, guys!” “Just do your best!” These tests are breaking the trust between me and my students. It feels so unethical to day after day administer tests that are so far beyond their current abilities. It’s like we’re giving these kids tests in Chinese, just to prove they don’t know any Chinese. And they leave feeling just…dumb…because they couldn’t answer any of the questions. I don’t even need the data these tests generate-they are so inappropriately hard, they tell me nothing of use. Besides, I have a whole Individual Education Plan that tells me exactly what my kids need to work on.

But still, every single week, here I am giving yet another absolutely disgusting test. My kids bang their heads on desks, they cry, they whine, they give up and say “I’m done” in front of a blank answer sheet. They fidget, they act out, they get in trouble just to get out of going to yet another class where they feel stupid.

I feel dirty when I come home. I wonder, “Should I start to boycott administering these tests?” But I don’t have tenure. Everyone tells me to lay low, to take the bold moves in three years when I've earned tenure.


I really had teachers on my mind today. I was thinking how thankful I am that I don't have to face what they are facing. Just imagine having to demand of students what they may be mentally incapable of doing, imagine breaking their spirits day in and day out.

Just imagine facing a school system being put in place by both parties which no longer recognizes students as individuals with varied abilities. The Secretary of Education of this United States feels that all students must be ready for college, all students will be able to pass all tests if teachers and parents are tough enough and demanding enough.

The powers that be are now applying the policies of "no excuses ever" and "zero tolerance" to academics.

7 replies, 2035 views

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Reply Special Ed teacher alarmed at amount of testing as she returns to public schools after 6 years. (Original post)
madfloridian Oct 2014 OP
NYC_SKP Oct 2014 #1
madfloridian Oct 2014 #2
NYC_SKP Oct 2014 #3
AllyCat Oct 2014 #4
madfloridian Oct 2014 #5
lunasun Oct 2014 #6
AllyCat Oct 2014 #7

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Mon Oct 20, 2014, 11:42 PM

1. I was shocked when in my first year in the classroom I learned that a month would be wasted on tests

 

State mandated tests and district tests, along with spring break, kiss April goodbye.

What a waste.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Tue Oct 21, 2014, 09:46 AM

2. Seems like Arne is talking out of both sides of his mouth about testing...

Says it shouldn't be happening this way, but does nothing to stop it. Words mean nothing anymore. Only actions will matter.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #2)

Tue Oct 21, 2014, 09:52 AM

3. It's not a popular opinion, but I think Federal directives have hurt the most.

 

Many want more federal money to go to schools, but then when it happens don't like the conditions that come with it.

It's a vicious cycle, NCLB, RTTP, Common Core.

I don't mind Common Core as a concept as it attempts to bring some uniformity to the 50 states, but then when we go to implement it other hell breaks loose, like resistance to new AP SS.History materials.

http://www.newsweek.com/whats-driving-conservatives-mad-about-new-history-course-264592

It's like herding cats, to get everybody on board and then there's Texas, good grief.

Sometimes I think block grants with few strings and targeted goals not based on testing is the best the federal government can do, otherwise it seems to be like pouring money into a sieve and keeping career reforms fully employed.

Sheesh!

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Oct 21, 2014, 04:35 PM

4. We have conferences tomorrow

For a kid I wanted to homeschool. He has shown an aptitude and interest in engineering concepts from an early age. He's in public school but he hates it. They are basically forcing reading on him and he wants to build stuff and know how things work. Hours of homework each week in reading and repetitive math. He no longer wants to read. He misses a few on a spelling test and is labelled "basic" on word work.

He's too young to test in my state. But the machinations are already in place. I'm so worried about him. The parochial school in town is reading Dick and Jane. I just want good schools and I think the teachers do too!

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Response to AllyCat (Reply #4)

Tue Oct 21, 2014, 04:56 PM

5. We once were able to teach each child to their strengths, weaknesses.

We planned for them as individuals, not as just test scores.

We were once allowed to help a student along a path to success...not anymore.

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Response to AllyCat (Reply #4)

Tue Oct 21, 2014, 09:55 PM

6. Off op subject but have you explored Montessori schools nearby if available?

Sounds like a Good fit for this kid if my understanding of their programs is correct

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Response to lunasun (Reply #6)

Wed Oct 22, 2014, 06:56 AM

7. Nearest one is two towns away

About a 45 min drive each way. Money would be an issue, but somehow, we could find a way.

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