This might be a whiny, ranty bitch session about education, so if this is not near or dear to your heart or you wanna tell me to suck it up… move along because today I own these feelings and I need to get them out. However I will try to stay coherent.
I made my baby cry in class today. I failed and I made things worse. I’m stressed, she’s stressed and Lord knows the teacher is stressed! Her teacher wanted me to see her work. *sigh* We’ve been trying so hard to work on some issues she has.
I’m just going to say it….This year’s state tests are ridiculous. The kids are all in a panic, it’s their first year as 3rd graders taking them and in the process they’re being told that the teachers have no idea what’s on the tests because the DOE is overhauling the system with the new ‘Common Core Standards’.
To exacerbate the situation, the private companies that are contracted to write these tests are right onto implementing the new curriculum because, of course, time is money…but the teachers now have to scramble to teach it in time… And catch the kids up, and fill in ALL the holes that the ‘standard’ BEFORE this new common core has left. So… not all the material will have been taught by the time the tests are taken. What’s that you say? How can you take a test when you haven’t been taught some of the material that might or might not be on it, but you’re not sure… and then be graded appropriately and at the correct level? Hard to follow?
My point exactly.
How do you think the kids feel.It’s like going for your written driver’s license test but the book they give you to study is missing half of the information you need, yet it’s on the test! Crazy right?!
The system is broken. There I said it. My children are in a broken system. It’s run by politicians. We know it’s broken. How can it be anything but broken, when funds continue to be cut. You can’t do more with less. No Child Left Behind failed. Children need to be left behind if they can’t do the work but over the last few years since NCLB was dropped, the standards have also been raised, which in my opinion is setting children up to fail anyway! The new inititive, this ‘Race to the Top’ thing, isn’t much better. When New York City’s DOE admits that this year, they expect up to 80% of students in some districts to fail these tests… what are they doing? What are they trying to achieve? It’s all a bit moronic, right?!
Did they wake up one day and say, ‘Hey, the kids coming out of the end of High school aren’t college ready because we’ve just been promoting them on anyway, regardless of work standard, so now we’re gonna make the curriculum harder, put more pressure on everyone, that’ll fix it.’ That doesn’t make any sense.
Over the years that I’ve been helping in one of the kindergarten classes at school, (4 consecutive years now) the standards have changed so much that the teachers are stressed and stretched to the limit and more children are staying behind. The problem isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse. To add insult to injury it breeds a feeling of failure and kids doubting themselves, when in fact, his or her abilities are age appropriate but the expectations aren’t. It makes me so mad!
Let’s use my beautiful little Miss Gremlin as a perfect example. She is smart, she has extended vocabulary, she is reading on a 6th grade level in the 3rd grade… but her handwriting is atrocious. She’s in 3rd grade and it’s illegible. Why? not because she can’t do it but because right back from day one when she was learning to form her letters she wasn’t told to do it again. She wasn’t told it wasn’t good enough. There simply wasn’t time… The standards that were put in place insisted that kindergarteners produce pages and pages of writing. It was all about the ‘content’ and getting the ideas down on paper. The more the better, they were expected to be writing 3-4 sentences a page and up to 3 pages. But trying to get 20 kids to extend their writing at age 5 doesn’t leave room for correction on penmanship, which by the way is no longer considered a subject. As she went on it wasn’t addressed in 1st grade, 2nd grade and now here we are in 3rd and I have to teach her to write so that they can read it when they score the test. It’s not any of the teachers’ fault, they don’t have time, they are pushed so hard. They don’t even have time to teach the curriculum that’s set for the year. How can they possibly spend more time on individual children who need extra instruction on things that weren’t addressed the previous year or even years as is Miss Gremlin’s case.
She’s a normal child who has still managed to slip through the cracks.
I’m worried for her, she’s worried. It’s an added stress these kids just don’t need. Even Grand Master D who has taken these tests for years now, said he’s worried because everyone is focused on how hard the test will be. It’s the fear of the unknown and it’s not fair. We all acknowledge the system is broken but why can’t the new standards be phased in, instead of dumping it on kids across the board in one fell swoop, knowing full well that a large percentage will fail. How will that affect the learning psyche of students in the future. I wonder has there been a study done on that. There must be a better way. I really hope it can be found.
Are your kids testing this year? Are they changing the standards on the fly in your district?