crying

Is this education? Is this what we want for our children and grandchildren?

Teachers have called the testing regime child abuse and here you get to read about it firsthand.

A teacher’s recount of the first day of Common Core Testing as posted on the Badass Teachers (BATS) Facebook page:

“I’m aiming for the short version here.

My kindergartners had their standardized computerized test today.

There were over 100 questions. Answers were selected by drop and drag with a trackpad, no mouse is available. One class took five hours to finish. Kids crying in 4 of 5 classes. Multiple computer crashes (“okay, you just sit right there while we fix it! Don’t talk to anyone!”). Kids sitting for half hour with volume off on headsets but not saying anything. Kids accidentally swapping tangled headsets and not even noticing what they heard had nothing to do with what they saw on the screen. Kids having to solve 8+6 when the answer choices are 0-9 and having to DRAG AND DROP first a 1 then a 4 to form a 14. Some questions where it was only necessary to click an answer but the objects were movable (for no reason). No verbal explanation that you must click the little speaker square to hear the instructions. To go to the next question, one clicks “next” in lower right-hand corner…..which is also where the pop-up menu comes up to take you to other programs or shut down, so about many shut-downs or kids winding up in a completely different program.

If this is not what you want for your kids and grand-kids, you’d better start making some noise. Ten years ago we would’ve thought this would be literally impossible.”

This is kindergarten people! This is what it has become between the Common Core Standards and high stakes testing.

This is a good way to create students who don’t want to go to school and think learning is hell.

Join me and Jesse Hagopian in a discussion about the Common Core Standards, high stakes testing and opting out. Due to the demand, we will be Skyping this workshop to those who are interested.

Enough is enough!

Dora

Post Script:

I received a comment stating that children in the US are not keeping up with other nations, that’s why the “need” for Common Core Standards. If you believe that we went into Iraq for reasons of  “national security” and because there were “Weapons of Mass Destruction” you might believe this. If you think that the NSA is protecting our Constitutional rights, then you might believe this also.

The truth is that parents from around the world are still sending their students to US Universities and secondary schools because of our “standards”. Quite frankly, I taught students from Great Britain for a year and for the most part they lack creative and critical thinking skills, something that has set us apart as a nation. The accomplishments with NASA, the developments that we have made over the years reflect us as thinkers and leaders and most of us have been the product of our public educational system.

The statement that we are not keeping astride of other nations is propaganda, a marketing ploy, and nothing more.

See what Diane Ravitch has to say on the subject:

What Do the NAEP Scores Mean?

Every once in a while, a new set of test scores is released by the National Assessment Governing Board, the federal agency that supervises the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Just a few days ago, the NAEP scores for science were released for 4th and 8th grades, and once again there was woe and gnashing of teeth in the land (http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/05/10/31naep_ep.h31.html?tkn=VPXFO3wzO2s%2Bbex2WwFqNNnCfYtzrpCNzSmA&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1). The scores had improved, but not enough to satisfy the nay-sayers.

The media react with alarm every time the NAEP scores appear because only about one-third or so of students is rated “proficient.” This is supposed to be something akin to a national tragedy because presumably almost every child should be “proficient.” Remember, under No Child Left Behind, ALL students are supposed to be proficient in reading and math by the year 2014.

Since I served on NAGB for seven years, I can explain what the board’s “achievement levels” mean. There are four levels. At the top is “advanced.” Then comes “proficient.” Then “basic.” And last, “below basic.”

Advanced is truly superb performance, which is like getting an A+. Among fourth graders, 8% were advanced readers in 2011; 3% of eighth graders were advanced. In reading, these numbers have changed little in the past twenty years. In math, there has been a pretty dramatic growth in national scores over these past twenty years: the proportion of students who scored advanced in fourth grade grew from 2% in 1992 to 7% in 2011. In eighth grade, the proportion who were advanced in math grew from 3% in 1992 to 8% in 2011.

Proficient is akin to a solid A. In reading, the proportion who were proficient in fourth grade reading rose from 29% in 1992 to 34% in 2011. The proportion proficient in eighth grade also rose from 29% to 34% in those years. In math, the proportion in fourth grade who were proficient rose from 18% to 40% in the past twenty years, an absolutely astonishing improvement. In eighth grade, the proportion proficient in math went from 21% in 1992 to an amazing 35% in 2011.

Basic is akin to a B or C level performance. Good but not good enough.

And below basic is where we really need to worry. These are the students who really don’t understand math or read well at all. The proportion who are below basic has dropped steadily in both reading and math in fourth and eighth grades since 1992.

When the scores are broken out by race, you can really see dramatic progress, especially in math. In 1992, 80% of black students in fourth grade were below basic. By 2011, that proportion had dropped to 49%. Among white students in fourth grade math, the proportion below basic fell in that time period from 40% to only 16%.

The changes in reading scores are not as dramatic as in math, but they are nonetheless impressive. In fourth grade, the proportion of black students who were below basic in 1992 was 68%; by 2011, it was down to 51%. In eighth grade, the proportion of black students who were reading below basic was 55%; that had fallen to 41% by 2011.

The point here is that NAEP scores show steady and very impressive improvement over the past twenty years. Our problems are tough, but they are not intractable. The next time someone tells you that U.S. education is “failing,” or “declining,” tell them they are wrong.

Post Script 2:

Here are videos about the Common Core Standards from different perspectives:

From a “Warrior Mom” and and editor of Education without Representation.

From a 15 year old student in Arkansas who connected the dots on the Common Core Standards:

And this from a teacher:

Regarding the comments below:

I go through each comment before posting. All comments that are within my understanding of civil conversation and are relevant to the subject, are posted, If there is a comment I want to respond to, I take my time with it because I want to respond accurately.

To me the comments provide additional information that all can use, that’s why I take care in my responses or answers.

Unfortunately I do have to hold down a couple of day jobs to support my blogging/writing habit, so please be patient if you do not see your comment posted immediately.

I appreciate all responses and the interaction with all of you.

Dora