...for educators to freak the hell out and go bonkers getting kids "ready" for testing.
My school, like most around DC, is doing some pretty bizarre-o stuff to help kids do well on the tests. (Parenthetically, it seems to me that if we put that energy into, I don't know, planning and executing a curriculum that really taught kids the skills they need at high levels, we'd do a lot better on these tests...) This article in the Washington Post outlines some of the things that schools are doing.
The debate on testing is extensive, and most ideas have been hashed and rehashed by people far smarter than I (there's a great book called "Many Children Left Behind" which raises some good criticisms about testing --- this coming from someone who generally supports it). So I want to bypass the debate about whether or not testing is good, and draw your attention to a specific quote in the article:
"Way too much emphasis goes into getting those few kids to score better, while the entire rest of the student population is just put through useless paces," said Virginia Spatz, a schools activist with a son at School Without Walls High School and a daughter at Woodrow Wilson. She said the tests left her sophomore son's schedule "completely whacked out for two days each time."
Two days?!? This proves my point that at schools that actually teach -- School Without Walls, Banneker, etc. -- testing isn't this huge issue. The kids at Walls have to take the test for 2 days, show how much they know, and then get to go back to learning. My kids have to sit in special testing group classes all day long for FOUR WEEKS. That isn't accountability. It's crazy.
What are your schools doing to get ready?
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