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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

TAKS

Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills....

If you are a teacher, these words hit a nerve. It's the lovely state test for Texas. Although I do see some good in a state test, I am NOT for the TAKS test. I have had a 4th grader try to cut her wrist so she wouldn't have to take the test. Every year I see kids get sick on TAKS test day. Is it worth it? To me, it's not.

In 4th grade, they have to take the writing, reading and math tests. It's their first year for the writing test, so it's a lot of unknowns for the kids. Since 3rd grade students HAVE to pass the reading test to move on to 4th grade, a lot of 3rd grade teachers skip out on writing to have time for reading. Which I totally understand! When I taught all subjects, I left out science to have more time for writing, and they have to take a science TAKS in 5th grade. It's a never ending cycle!

Today was our "practice TAKS test" for writing. We used the released test from last year. Since I am at a WONDERFUL school this year, it wasn't as big of a deal. But I still had to cover my walls, walk around all day, etc. BORING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Covering the walls means anything letters, words, etc. on my walls I had to cover. We have to make sure each child in the state of Texas is on the same playing field. In my opinion, if they are smart enough to use the posters, cursive writing chart, etc.....let them! But I do as I am told and cover the walls.)

Anyway, I am reminded of the following post....the football version of TAKS. Read it. I know it sounds crazy, but that is how teachers feel. I have a student this year that will probably skip 5th grade because she is so bright. In that same class, I have a young man that is doing well if he writes 5 sentences. Yet, they are to pass the same test.

For this reason, I am now tutoring Tuesday mornings, Tuesday after school, and Wednesday after school. I might as well pop a tent in my classroom.

I don't have the answers, and I don't claim to have them! I just now A LOT of VERY GOOD teachers are leaving the education field because of the stress and craziness of it all. The good news is...you can usually find a teaching position in a TAKS testing grade!! :) Bad news is...they are gone after a year!

If you are still reading this, WOW! Thanks for listening to me on my soapbox! Can you tell Jason is gone tonight?! :)

I'll sign off for now...enjoy!

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND: The Football Version

1. ALL teams must make the state playoffs and all MUST win the championship. If a team does not win the championship, they will be on probation until they are the champions, and coaches will be held accountable. If after two years they have not won the championship their footballs and equipment will be taken away UNTIL they do win the championship.

2. ALL kids will be expected to have the same football skills at the same time even if they do not have the same conditions or opportunities to practice on their own. NO exceptions will be made for lack of interest in football, a desire to perform athletically, or genetic abilities or disabilities of themselves or their parents. ALL KIDS WILL PLAY FOOTBALL AT A PROFICIENT LEVEL!

3. Talented players will be asked to work out on their own, without instruction. This is because the coaches will be using all their instructional time with the athletes who aren't interested in football, have limited athletic ability, or whose parents don't like football. 4. Games will be played year round, but statistics will only be kept in the 4th, 8th, and 11th game. This will create a New Age of Sports where every school is expected to have the same level of talent and all teams will reach the same minimum goals. No child gets ahead, so no child is left behind. If parents do not like this new law they are encouraged to vote for vouchers and to support private schools that can screen out the non-athletes and prevent their children from having to go to school with poorly performing kids.

2 comments:

sally said...

As the wife of a teacher, I am so bothered by the No Child Left Behind mentality that heaps all the responsibility on the teacher and none on the student or parent.

Here's an essay that I read several years ago that I think is great. Much like your football analogy, but it compares teachers to dentists, and what if dentists were rated on the number of cavities their patients have... http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/no-dentist.html

Other than TAKS, I hope you're having a great new year. Did you ever get in touch with Jeremy/Catherine Asher to figure out his relation to Linda Davis? I'm curious if all of y'all are related!

Donna said...

I feel for you! I don't know you but I feel your pain. I taught (for 1 year) in a poor area of Houston and those Taks tests were horrible the whole week before kids were fretting! Luckily I taught 1st grade so we didn't get the stress. I will remember to pray for you and all the other teachers as the TAKS draw closer!
Oh and to add to the stress, somehow I think I heard today that the election and TAKS are scheduled for the same day!