Ranting on Facebook

I know you are all eagerly awaiting the second half of my debauchery in New Orleans. But this last week I have dedicated to my child’s schooling, which ultimately resulted in the following rant being posted on Facebook this a.m.

Our forced adherence to bullshit standardized testing is making testing companies rich and hurting fwisd! My kid goes to Monnig- because of mandated testing evaluation changes- other parents of bright kids are pulling their kids out because they believe the school “isn’t good enough.” Did I mention I am helping her rehearse Elektra for UIL? Come on legislature– get it together before you destroy public schools completely. I have my brilliant gifted child in these schools because I Believe! Public schools got me to Yale. Let the teachers do what they are trained to do- fund it and don’t try to micro manage it. Rant over

So let me tell you how this came about. I have my kid in a middle school here in town. We had one of the finest elementary schools- by popular acclaim- through fifth grade. Then all the parents of the gifted and talented kids started pulling their kids out cause “you lose them in middle school.” First of all, what exactly does that mean? I can’t lose Claire- I’m on that kid like white on rice. As her friends even say, “Your mom scares me.” It’s the look. I’ve had it for years.

Anyway- tangent there. So, what happened was last year in the ridiculous state mandated testing regime, the evaluation procedure randomly adjusted  (on calendar) and the middle school in question went down in its rating. I tried to explain this to the other parents (since I’ve been involved in school law for over 20 years)…alas, as with so many things, people see the numbers. Regardless, I shoved my kid into her ethnically diverse public school and said “Darwinism, baby. You will survive and thrive.” And guess what? She has. Got the lead in the musical as a 6th grader and  a part in the UIL play (Elektra…sophocles…seriously?) Anyway all was well.

Then, suddenly, my kids math grades started to plummet. Ok, so I know my kid is attractive and social, so I attributed it to her jacking around. Took her phone. Berated her. Insisted on doing her homework with her every night. But Claire insisted he instructor was “crazy.” Yeah, right. It’s always the teacher. Multiple meetings with the teacher and hours of homework later, I began to notice that when my kid GOT  home, she didn’t know how to work the problems. But after I showed her ONE….she did the remainder of the worksheet on her own. No problem. So, I asked myself…where is the disconnect.

Well, after months of investigation and a resurrected grade in math- here’s what I’ve decided. This teacher is in WAY over her head. I discovered she didn’t even sign on to teach AP math, although she is math certified. And, accordingly, whenever she has problems getting the assignment across to the kids, she blurts “we will never make the goals” or “we will never get the passing rate” if the honors kids can’t get this- and refuses to actually TEACH.

This woman is paralyzed by the standardized testing evaluations. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve decided she is also arbitrary and has admitted to having a “personality conflict” with my child. (A grown woman…with a 12 year old who is loved by every other teacher) NO, I think she is a victim of a testing regime that shoe horns learning into a particular hole. An ideology where performance and learning are only evaluated by a single mandated regime controlled by corporations making millions of dollars off the tests themselves. In other words, she is scared. SCARED!! A frightened person can’t TEACH people. She sees the kids’ inability to comprehend her initial instruction as a threat, and reacts with “throw you papers in the trash!!!!” And it’s that kind of message that makes these kids (particularly the ones used to overachieving) miserable. Including my own.

So, I saddled up in my best lawyer garb, went to the school, and intimidated the hell out of her. (This was more for statements to Claire like “you’ll never get into Yale”) And then, I called the principal to let her know I would do WHATEVER it took to help bring those math scores up-including tutoring and teaching.

You know, when my dad did international aid and relief work, they had “GO” teams. Teams that would hit the ground with supplies and relief- so that the effected areas would not have to wait for the bureaucracy to clear. I’m thinking the legislature should consider some such funding. Instead of trying to micro manage the actual teaching through testing and evaluation. Let’s test to identify NEED only- then send in specialized education GO teams- to help schools like Claire’s FIX the problem. I can’t imagine a good, innovative educator couldn’t help this POOR woman fix whatever disconnect she has with these students, and in doing so, fix the overall evaluation of the school. Maybe it’s something community leaders could spearhead- I mean in Fort Worth we have Lockheed and Alcon, just to name a few.

I’ve already volunteered.


4 thoughts on “Ranting on Facebook

  1. This makes me eternally grateful for the nuns who took vows of poverty and dedicated their lives to teaching millions of youngsters like me and gave us great educations. I wish they were still around.

  2. Great rant! Call your rep they are going to make things worse before they get better by continuing most of the funding cuts from last session and introducing vouchers. We are thinking of buying stock in Pearson because we’ve lost hope that the tests are going anywhere. They seem to have better lobbyists than the parents, teachers and kids.

  3. So many factors contributing to this problem.

    This first started with the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act. While the intentions of the act were generally for the better, the act itself created a practice that has threatened to destroy our education.

    Because the standards set out in the act were so high, many teachers like the aforementioned one began TEACHING TO THE TEST instead of teaching the content needed to pass the test. All the sudden you have instructions like, “if you see a question like this, then do this” being pounded in students head. They learn nothing but how to cut corners.

    Today, teachers are still using the technique mostly because they don’t know how to teach the material to the students. Just because you know the material yourself does not mean you know how to teach it.

    In the end, we are left with what happened in Georgia: a group of teachers being caught on a Saturday erasing students a answers on state tests and filling in the correct ones just to keep their jobs.

  4. Preach it, girl. Preach it. It is so sad what the system has become… 😦 I used to teach at what I am guessing might have been your daughter’s elementary school… Long before she was there, of course, but even then I remember us being told to use very ‘interesting’ practices to make sure scores were what they needed to be, and all but letting the bright kids just educate themselves… Good luck in this battle…

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