My views on standardized testing have changed. At first, I didn’t think much of it. Then I saw it as a kind of a necessary evil. The more I looked into it and the more it has changed (and after I read More Than A Score), the more I’ve decided that it is, at its heart (and not just in individual questions) racist. I think most everyone agrees that it does little to contribute to or measure teaching and learning. (That some of those same people give extended standardized tests themselves is the height of hypocrisy.)
But they are still with us, and they show every sign of spreading their tentacles over more and more of our time and money and curriculum. This morning, we had what I suspect was a mandatory meeting in advance of the state tests next week. Fine. I get it. We need everyone to know the procedures, etc.. I know all of the words to this song.
But then we were shown a video. I don’t know if it was this one (Atlanta teachers in court because of standardized tests), but it focused on teary teachers of color pleading for mercy from an apparently racist judge with a voiceover and the judge explaining how those teachers had set their children back years.
Message received: Screw up, and you’ll lose your certificate, be arrested, and ruin children.
And then, in a catalogue of announcements at the end of the meeting, we are informed that two students have withdrawn from our school because one of them (they are related) had been bullied to such an extent that he attempted suicide.
So, 45 minutes on testing (and threatening teachers with arrest).
1 sentence on bullying and suicide.
How did we get here? How do we move away?
It took me almost 4 hours to calm down enough to compose this. Now, I’m told, I’m supposed to attend another meeting about testing?
No. Not happening. I am OPTING OUT.
Did I mention that someone put up more of those NO BULLYING posters around the school? Some of them even have puppies on them.