"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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Thursday, April 19, 2012

When High Stakes Testing becomes Abusive, it's Time for Parents to Keep their Children Home.

When an educational system becomes so abusive as to cause physical and/or emotional harm to children, it is a parent's duty to keep that child home from public school and find other schooling alternatives...or demand changes to school policy.

MAP testing is a terrible time of the year.  Remember our post last year about the reasons MAP is given to students?  It's not to determine the true educational knowledge of students.  It's to determine how well your child/school performs on standardized tests your child has been prepped for in practice tests and hepped up to do well in pep rallies:

The MAP test is used to determine how the school is performing. Results of the test will not determine if your child advances the next grade or not. Results of the test will not determine any additional services you child may or may not receive. Results of the tests are broken down into subgroup testing to determine how subgroups (Asian/Pacific Islands, Black, Hispanic, American Indian, White, Other/Non Response, Free/Reduced Lunch, IEP, LEP) score. If one subgroup in a school fails, the whole school fails. And what does failure mean? If a school does not show improvement over a specified period of time, the school can become unaccredited and lose funding.

The MAP testing creates stress for students, teachers and administrators.  It will only get worse in the coming years.  MAP will be phased out but the constant assessments due to Common Core mandates (assessments given every three weeks) will create continual stress for students and teachers.  Now not only can money be withheld from schools, teacher and administrator jobs hinge on these assessment results.

How are teachers responding to testing this year?  In March, one Florida teacher made an 8th grade student wear a sign around his neck to punish him for missing an FCAT test even though he had provided a doctor's note regarding a sickness:

He even had this doctor's note to prove his illness was real, but said when he came back to school this week his teacher put a humiliating note around his neck. 

"It said, since I have decided that I will come to school today but I didn't come to school during the FACT."
Thomas claimed the teacher did nothing as classmates laughed. 

"She just made me feel like I'm worthless."

The teacher apologized but the mother stated:

"There is a zero tolerance policy for a student to bully each other. Well, how is there a no tolerance that they allow a teacher to bully a student," said Cancellare.  

Fast forward to April in Missouri.  From ky3.com and Washburn, MO:


A mother is upset over over a classroom incident that left her kindergartner embarrassed. 

A 6-year-old girl had an accident in her classroom, and her parents are pushing for policy changes.

"They told me that the teacher had asked her to go to the restroom before testing time," said mother Lisa Skidmore.

Skidmore says asking a young child to go to the bathroom on demand is next to impossible.

"You can't do that to a 6-year-old."
That's why, when her kindergartner told her teacher she had to go to the restroom during the test and wasn't allowed, Skidmore couldn't believe it.  Her little girl couldn't hold it.

"They didn't even bother trying to clean her up or anything.  She still had poop, diarrhea poop, coming out the back, up her front, down her legs," she said.

Skidmore says her daughter was forced to sit in the class for the remainder of test time, about 15 minutes, then mom was called after the test, and it was a 20-minute drive to school to pick up her daughter.

All the while, the little girl had to sit in the mess.  No one bothered to clean her up, although a teacher did give her a trash bag to wrap around herself.
"You don't even treat a dog that way!" Skidmore said.

The last paragraph explains why the teacher handled it in this way:

Many kids right now are taking Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) tests, the state standardized testing required by law.  Those tests start in third grade, but the superintendent says the reason the teacher was sticking so closely to MAP testing guidelines, even for a kindergartner, is because she was trying to simulate the stringent rules to prepare students for what's to come.  (emphasis added)

What these teachers are doing by simulating stringent rules for kindergartners for what they are in store for will dull any love of learning these children might possess.  These teachers should be brought up on child abuse charges for the physical and emotional distress imparted to a 6 year old child.  The father's remarks are right on the money:

"If any parent sent their kid to school with crappy pants, diarrhea-type crap, wrapped up in a garbage bag, stench badly, I believe with all my heart those parents would be facing criminal charges, I believe that with all my heart."

 MAP Time.  It IS the "most terrible time of the year".  Just wait until the common core standards kick in and it will be high stakes not just in the spring...it will be your child's public school existence all year...and now, it will be starting in pre-school. 

Here is the AYP measurement from DESE from Southwest Elementary School in Washburn.  The teachers apparently are feeling the pressure to get the scores up as they are lagging behind the NCLB proficiency model.

It is time for parents to demand their local schools stop this madness.  Your children are not hostages, data subgroups and they should not be forced into these constant assessments.  From our previous posting on MAP testing:

To highlight some of the problems with this type of testing, I took a bit of liberty with the lyrics from "It's the Most Wonderful time of the Year". Here is Andy Williams singing the song on youtube. Play it while following along with our version about the dreaded MAP testing every spring:

It's the most terrible time of the year
With the kids all stressed out
And the teachers burned out
There's no one in good cheer
It's the most terrible time of the year

It's the most-most stressful season of all
With those bubbles to fill
With your pencil so near
Anxiety calls!
It's the most-most stressful season of all

There are instructions imparted
And students imploding
And tears all around the class
There are scary test questions
And stories to study
And answers the kids might not know

It's the most terrible time of the year
There are test preparations
All hearts will be pounding
When testing comes near
It's the most terrible time of the year

The results from the testing
Based on subset groupings
Determines the funding for schools
If the kids don't perform
The school flunks, it's a pity
It's AYP regs, don't you know?

It's the most terrible time of the year
There is much consternation
From districts awaiting
Results of the tests
It's the most terrible time
It's the most terrible time
It's the most terrible time....of the year

1 comment:

  1. There is simply zero justification for such abusive treatment of a child. There seems to be a national epidemic of testing perversity inflicted on children.


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