Testing Storm Continues to Boil
Just when we thought the testing situation couldn’t get worse than the testing debacle this past spring, we find the storm isn’t over. We were merely in the eye of the hurricane and round two is about to hit.
If you haven’t yet read the okeducationstruths blog post (Testing: Relief, a New Definition, and a Threat) or Jenks Middle School Principal Rob Miller’s blog (Bring Back Paper and Pencil!), you need to. Both posts do, however, need to come with the warning label, “Contents may cause your blood pressure to rise.”
If you haven’t heard, The State Department of Education has sent some new testing information to schools in the last few days. The bit of good news is that the SDE has decided to eliminate the double testing requirements for middle school math students. Unfortunately, it seems to be a mere token ray of sunshine to make the more onerous things the SDE is now requiring seem palatable.
The SDE also announced that the definition of full academic year status, “…has been changed to enrollment from October 1 to the time of testing.” This means that schools who typically start the first part of August will now be held responsible for the first two months of a student’s education no matter where the student was enrolled or even if he/she was enrolled at all those first months. How is this true accountability?
Then there’s the “Stress Test” issue. The SDE sent a memo to districts reminding them they are required to participate in the statewide Online Readiness Test. Not only are the tests supposed to be administered with only two weeks’ notice, but the announcement is veiled with a threat – not a “please” or a “sorry for the last minute announcement,” but a threat to withhold school funding. Gee, what a way to make folks want to participate!
Of course, this all leads me to think of the age-old adage, “Follow the money.” We want to be sure the tests work properly because, heaven forbid, the testing companies might look bad – again. Never mind how it inconveniences the school districts or forces the students to spend more time taking yet another practice test, the testing companies must be protected (please note this is said with all the sarcasm I can muster).
So how do we stop the craziness and bullying?
First, we must have a strong presence at the Oklahoma Education Coalition Rally on March 31. Put it on your calendar now. We have to send a loud, clear message that “Enough is enough.” The time is now, and it is going to take each and every one of us coming to the Capitol. It won’t be easy, but it’s time to take a stand.
Secondly, there must be a strong voter turnout in the upcoming election. We have to vote, and we also must get everyone we know to vote. Oklahoma’s children deserve better.
As a postscript, I want to cite some characteristics of bullying behavior. I think you can figure out why it seems an appropriate way to end this blog.
- Have a need to feel powerful and in control
- Display little empathy and compassion for others
- Defend their actions by blaming the victims
- Have strong self-esteem
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