"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Are "Fa Sho", "Crunk" and "Imma' " Accepted Vocabulary Words on the MAP Test? They are in the Ferguson Florissant School District.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you know we have questions regarding standardized testing, particularly the MAP test. Many districts have completed one week of the federally mandated tests, while other districts will be starting this week.

The Joplin Globe reports MAP is just starting in Joplin and how intensive the process of the annual testing has become:

At many local school districts, preparation for the MAP goes on all year. The test helps drive curriculum, and students have been taking practice tests throughout the year.

The MAP assesses students at various grade levels in communications arts and mathematics, and gives parents and educators a means to compare students across districts. State and federal agencies in turn use it to grade schools, with implications for accreditation at the state level and for compliance with the No Child Left Behind Act at the federal level.

“It’s a high-stakes test,” Joplin Superintendent C.J. Huff said.

It is high-stakes in terms of the school's point of view since it can affect accreditation and compliance for NCLB; and how do the schools respond to this pressure? The Globe reports:

West Central Elementary School offered a weekly “boot camp” for its students over several weeks, said Denise Legore, the school’s principal. The students, dubbed “privates,” are led by community members and mentors with either the rank of “sergeant” or “lieutenant.” The children sang in marching cadences and this year wore dog tags. They negotiated an obstacle course where they have to answer a question in order to move on.

I thought this was a bit odd. Children singing in marching cadences to prepare for a test? It apparently doesn't happen just in Joplin. It's happening in the Ferguson-Florissant School District as well. I received this question from a mother of a third grader in that district about the "Map Walk" sheet sent home with her child (you can find the words to the "Map Walk" at the beginning of this article):

Someone please read this and tell me what the heck is going on at my child's school. What kind of grammar is this? And why are they teaching my child this? ....
and what does "crunk" mean?

I was stunned at the sheet she referenced. There were misspellings, incorrect grammar, and rap slang being taught to students. I looked up the definition of "crunk"in an online rap dictionary:



  1. To have a good time. Long as everybody get crunk in the drop -- Lil Bow Wow (Bounce with me [2000].
  2. To get crazy drunk. Originally, this term comes from the words crazy and funk. As opposed to popular opinion, crunk has had no relation to being coked up and drunk until recently. Because if its similarity of terminal sound with the word drunk many rappers have used it in reference with being crazy and under the influence. This and the intrinsical association with hard partying has brought about its association with alcohol.
  3. A style of music most commonly made by rap artists from the southern states, aka the Dirty South. Some crunk artists (or groups) are Lil' Jon, Pitbull, Lil' Scrappy, Trillville, and David Bannerand also [[[lil'joe the prince of Crunk]] n N b o Crunkmusic
  4. At a high level, as in volume: "He got the speakers in the trunk with the bass on crunk." (Mos Def, from "Mr. Nigga" on Black on Both Sides).

I doubt many mothers of 3rd graders would be elated to see this come home in their child's backpack. This mom has contacted the superintendent and the State Board of Education to determine if this is accepted educational practice.

I wonder how "boot camp" for MAP preparation is received in Joplin. I hope the cadences used there (I'm still trying to come to terms with this technique) are grammatically correct and don't teach 3rd graders street jive (courtesy of the Urban Dictionary). Maybe that concerned mother should have her student do the "Map Walk" right out of the classroom when testing time comes around.


  1. Wow!!!! Our current leadership in DC is concerned that some students are unable to obtain a job or attain success in America...perhaps it's BECAUSE THEY ARE UNABLE TO SPEAK ENGLISH!!!!!

  2. "I'm to cool not to pass - Imma' take my time and not go to fast"? Is this the way to teach anything? Bastardized english and using the word 'to' for 'too'? No wonder our children do so poorly, the people who make the decisions on how they are being taught are total fools. This shows that total idiots can go to college and if they can't get a degree in anything else they can at least get one as a teacher. But what does that say about the straights that leave our children in?


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