Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wow

Ok, so today this is a rant.

First rant is about school. And the federal government sticking their noses where they don't belong. Specifically in regards to testing. I have had to give tests for the last two weeks straight. I am a special ed. teacher. Tests are really hard for my kids to begin with. Hell, sitting still for 2 hours is really hard, let alone sitting still for two hours w/out talking and not being able to read the information that you're being tested in is hard for anyone! So last week we have to take the district's quarterly assessments. I'm Ok with this. I think the kids should take assessments to see if they are growing. However! However, I think the assessments should be on the student's functioning level. Especially for special ed. kids. My second graders have to take a second grade test. Which I am not OK with. The reason I am not Ok with this is because the students are not able to read on a second grade level. Yes, I can read the questions and answer choices, but I cannot read the reading passages to them. This is a huge problem. The whole test is based on the reading passage and they have to try to read that all by themselves. They can't ask me for help. Also, special ed. kids have a really hard time with certain types of questions. The test is full of these types of questions! About information they can't read! See my problem is, we already know these kids have problems. I'm not saying let's count them out as non-functioning members of society. Not at all. I'm saying, we already know they are learning at least two grade levels below their peers. We already know that they get frustrated easily. We already know that 9 out to 10 kids labeled special ed. are suffering from ADHD. We already know that we are not instructing them on their grade level, but on their instructional level. And yet we ask them to take a test that is difficult for regular ed. kids. And we ask them to do it for two weeks in a row. Here's the other part I have a problem with. We spent all last week testing. We are spending today and tomorrow testing too! Are you kidding? If I'm frustrated, imagine how the kids must feel! Argh!!! I believe that I should be held responsible for my student's learning. But let's look to see if they made progress. A standardized test does not show progress. It only shows failure. Also, as a side note, the federal government in their infinite wisdom that comes from years of teaching (can you sense the sarcasm?) has decided that not only are we forcing kids to take these ridiculous tests, we're going to base a teacher's job on the student's ability to pass a test. Yes folks, you heard me, the feds are discussing basing my ability to work on the ability of my students to take and pass a test. I strongly encourage you, my wonderful readers, to go back to elementary school and sit in a couple days. You won't recognize school. When I was in school, we got to learn about things that interested us. We did projects. We put on plays. We did theme units. We had fun. Seriously. In elementary school, we had fun. We learned things by doing and through play. Now, the students learn by worksheet and drill. We don't even teach them to multiply for goodness sakes! We no longer teach straight up multiplication tables. How can you expect students to learn fractions when they can't multiply? Wow. Whew. Sorry. I'm going to cut myself off. I could go on forever...

Second mini rant applies to my blog. I really appreciate the new readers! Hi! If you get a chance, leave me a message and tell me how you found me. Thanks! :) But some real weirdos are out there. I had a delete a comment today because it was full of profanity and nasty-ness. I write this blog for me. It helps me immensely to be able to get my thoughts down on "paper" and sort through them. I don't write this blog to get nasty comments. Are we still in High School here people? If you don't like what you're reading, then don't read it! Geesh!

So...let's hope that tomorrow is a better day. Full of testing again, but hopefully better. Whew. Thanks for reading :)

10 comments:

lspoon said...

I can't do standardized testing. And if I do say so myself, I am exceptionally smart. But filling out little bubbles for 2 weeks? Will cause my brain to turn to mush and leak out of my ear.

As for idiot commenters...they suck and should probably be "fixed" so that they are unable to procreate.

Steve Adams said...

found you through the 20-something board. I also agree that the federal government has no business micromanaging education.

Stephanie said...

I'm not a teacher, but I totally sympathize with you. My little stepbrother has a slight learning disability and I cannot imagine him having to sit for two hours straight and have to read at his age-level, rather than ability level. Also, my stepsister is a special ed teacher, so I know how you feel about all this!

barefoot said...

Sorry it's been a couple of rough days for you. Hopefully things will look up for you soon.
I agree about the school system. I've actually been thinking about homeschooling, not because I think the teachers aren't good but because I don't think they really get a chance to be as good as they could be. Next fall my son will be preschool age (3) so I figured I'd give it a whirl. If I can't manage I'll know before damange is done.
Anyhow, hope tomorrow is better.
Oh, I think I discovered you on 20sb.
BTW, I was worried you were talking about me when you said a weirdo was checking out your site, then you said profanity and I thought 'whew, she hasn't figured me out yet'.(lOL)

The Underpaid Princess said...

OMG I HATE "no child left behind." I deal with the same junk with my students. It's infuriating.

La said...

My sister is a special-ed teacher, too, and the stories she tells me sometimes just break my heart! Hopefully things will get better for you. I know how hard it is.

A Lil' Irish Lass said...

I was fortunate enough to be an exceptional test-taker in elementary school. My baby sister, however, SUCKED at standardized tests. Her scores reflected that she was borderline remedial for the most part. She is not. Nowhere even remotely close. She just can't test. I can't begin to tell you how much pressure those tests and scores put on her, how much they made her feel inadequate.

In NYS it doesn't get much better in high school. There is no such thing as teaching material; it's all teaching for the Regents at the end of the year. Teaching for a test. That's not education. That's bullshit.

Virginia said...

Oh man, I can understand how frustrating those tests must be for your kids. It just makes so much more sense to test based on ability level rather than age level! Ugh, stupid government. A friend of mine works for City Year and she has some incredibly sad stories about the kids she works with.

And I got a disgusting comment on my blog yesterday too. What the heck is wrong with people?!

Erin said...

I cannot stand No Child Left Behind. I hope it goes away someday. Standardized testing is so not the way to evaluate kids.

Oh and I found you through a comment on New Fanny! :)

Princess Pointful said...

I have to do a lot of assessments in my jobs, and at no time did I feel more of a jerk than when making an illiterate fellow answer my questions because he had to get 10 wrong for me to "officially" stop.

I can't believe you got such a nasty comment!!