All over Texas today, students are nervous, were unable to sleep, have lost their hair and sanity, cannot eat, have stomach problems, broke out in hives, probably had suicidal thoughts or worse.
Today, students are taking the TAKS test. (Are you serious? Let me get this straight: if some students don't pass this TAKS test, they will either fail or not graduate, even if otherwise their grade point average is passing?! Someone please e-mail or call or comment on this blog and tell me I'm wrong!)
It is unbearable to see our childen stressing like adults over a damn test!
Oddly, I haven't met any parent, educator or academic administrator yet who disagrees that the TAKS test is jeopardizing the real education of children. Our kids spend all school year being taught how to take a test to gauge how smart Texas is; but what about how smart the children are? What am I missing?
Teaching has taken on the shape of an assembly line methodology, or some sick domino effect! If the students fail, the teachers eventually lose their jobs. However, the Catch 22 is, teachers are no longer allowed to use their creativity to teach the individual child. They are teaching a group how to pass the TAKS exam. ARGH!
Homework is a joke. Students rarely have it because teachers are not allowed to assign that much of it, and when they do, students go home clueless about what to do. They can't ask their teachers for help because they cannot be late for the next class (that equals detention or referral) or it's not tutoring day or they have to schedule a time to meet with the teacher after school or send a request to Congress to get a Bill passed. (And of course if they have to ride the bus home, they can forget it.) (Oh, and the teachers have to be off the campus no later than about 30 minutes after school lets out.)
Some classes don't even use books anymore. Instead, everything is either online or students get a TAKS worksheet, use their own notes (but are not taught how to take good notes), look at an overhead or use a TAKS workbook that they cannot bring home, that drills them on learning to identify that a glove is to a hand just as a tablecloth is to a table. Or, is the wood to the table and the hand to the finger? It's all B to the S to me.
What is going on? Teachers are next in line to parents! And all parents know that it takes creativity to raise a child, so why should teaching be any different? All children do not learn the same way or at the same pace. Children expect you to care about them! They expect you to guide them! They expect you to prepare them for a wonderful life that we all guarantee they can have if they get an education! Good grief.
Our kids are human beings, not case studies or projects. Instead of spending all year preparing for a test that most teachers don't even support, how about spending the year letting teachers teach some old fashion reading, writing, arithmetic, handwriting, spelling and grammar? (Cursive writing is not even a requirement anymore, and handwriting classes are obsolete!)
Recently, I judged some essays written by eighth graders competing for scholarships. Out of about 50 that I read, 45 read like first graders wrote them! It made my stomach hurt. Across the board, the spelling, grammar, structure and content was embarrassing. I thought I was reading text messages on paper!
Doesn't anyone get it? If teachers are allowed to TEACH..really teach, then at the very least, our children can communicate their thoughts, write a complete sentence and know how to count. Let's get that part right first. Who created this rule and who are we trying to build up—the kids or the government?
Even the students get it. My teenage daughter told me she hates the TAKS. She called it stupid and said, instead of taking some test that doesn't make sense to pass to the next grade or graduate, if you have good grades by the end of the year, you should be able to take a semester exam, pass that, average it all and go on. If not, then you fail.
How's that for government policy?
Picture this for a school marquee: "State High School--Recognized. Students' Education--Overlooked.
Until next time,
Blogging is my impulse to answer questions people didn't ask me and write about truths people don't want to face. From wellness to politics, sports and death, if it's "writable," I write about it!