because no one needs to see me dance

As I write this, a local principal is addressing the local media to give last minute TAKS test-taking strategies to any kids watching, and reassuring parents that the teachers have done their best to prepare the students for the test.

Yes. The madness is upon us.

For those of you who are blissfully unaware of how Texas does state testing, TAKS is for grades 3-5 (at the elementary level - they take it again in middle school and high school) and comes around every April.

Texas is different from the two other states I've taught in because they've decided that they're going to label schools based on TAKS performance. That way, the whole community will know if a certain elementary school is unacceptable, acceptable, recognized, or commended.

As you can imagine, this causes a very unhealthy level of pressure from any Texas principal. The atmosphere in our school these last two months has been steadily approaching outright hysteria:

Countdown to the TAKS test on every white board.
Two hours of after school tutoring every Tuesday and Thursday. (Since October!)
Semi-mandatory Saturday school for under performing students. (Since January!)

Since the TAKS test starts tomorrow, the school has organized a pep rally today. The lower grades will perform cheers for the upper grades. The teachers are going to do motivational raps.

Somehow, I got out of doing any performing today. If anyone from the administration questions my loyalty to this school or to our 3rd-5th graders, I'm going to whip out my heavy duty camera and proclaim myself the official photographer of all this hoopla.


Gladys said...

I totally get this whole TAKS hoopla...I'm on the same boat! The pressure is on for those kiddos...and I feel for them. Next week my kids will be put under the microscope...they'll be taking the ITBS test. Poor babies!

Elissa Newton said...

My daughter did the after school tutoring last year here in California & this year they all have t-shirts proclaiming their Goal {They also have the labels in our district}. There have been rallies & they even made Easter Test Prep baskets for each other last Friday. Crazy!

Just4Teachers said...

It's the same in FL.... and now a law has been passed that teachers receive merit paid based on their student's performance on the FCATs. Schools are already labeled and graded based on performance. When will it ever end??? Not all students learn the same or perform the same under pressure. :(

Cortney said...

I hear ya! Today was our first day back after spring break and it's was nutty, pure nuttiness. We have a long 8 weeks (38 days to be exact) until summer and I'm the person everyone looks to and asks, how much longer? I always know the answer. I'm really counting down to the one day a year I drink 4PM on the last day of school. I really don't drink but some how found myself in a bar after school last June and have started looking forward to it again.

malia said...

wow this make me stressed just reading about it. what do you think about this type of testing?

Bethany @ Organic Enchilada said...

Too bad we can't prepare them for life instead of preparing them for tests, eh? This is ridiculous. First time I've ever thought it would be awful to move to Texas!

Sparkling said...

yep, we have labels too. and they are fancy like "restructuring" we are currently in year 2 of restructuring. and supposedly that might mean that state could come in AT ANY TIME and just take over. yeah, good luck to them. i am sure they will have far more success with the kids than we do.

Miss Teacher said...

i laughed out loud when i read this post about the TAKS mania--and i thought MY school went nuts over standardized tests!!! i'm so glad our ISATs are over. while it's no fun that they're in early march (hello! we're not done teaching!!!), it's wonderful to have a few months of less insane time to actually TEACH!

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