So on Friday I had to give my kids a pep talk about the upcoming onslaught of California standardized tests starting on Monday and continuing for two weeks. It's horribly unfair that school funding depends on these tests, and even more unfair that special education students (such as mine!) aren't exempt from it. (I'll rant more about that later). In any case, I was telling my dear students that we don't have a choice and we have to take these tests; that they are for the state, not for parents or report cards; that it will be hard and there will be items on it that we haven't learned yet; that we will need to try our best anyway. Furthermore, I told them that I was not allowed to help them at all, and that there could be nothing posted in the classroom that could help them. One student raised his hand and asked if we could "put test in fire". I thought it was a brilliant idea (even better would be to have the bonfire on the steps of a government building in D.C), but I had to tell him No. Unfortunately.
Today I came back to school to cover anything remotely educational in my classroom with butcher paper (the alphabet, calendar, etc). I felt like I was mounting shrouds of death all over my walls, preparing for some sort of sick funeral. In a way, maybe it is. The only concrete outcome of standardized testing in special ed. settings is to remind the students that they are in special ed.
Oh, and let me remind everyone that "No child left behind" legislation was Clinton's big idea, not Bush's. For the record.
The Raging Animal Inside Me
5 hours ago