Dear Momma Bears,
I am a dedicated teacher who has always "played by the rules" and my students have done very well on standardized tests in the past. I don't know what was on the TN Ready/Part I test because I didn't look. However, I did see my students' reactions which began with frozen, stunned silence and morphed into apparent confusion about what was being asked and how/where to write their answers. A few minutes later, I had students crying, pulling their hair, and just generally appearing defeated. None of them finished the test. It was heartbreaking to watch as I could do nothing but stand idly by while the minutes ticked off. That was the worst day of my 10 year teaching career. What in the world is going on?
Dear Dedicated Teacher,
According to the TDOE and politicians, nothing at all is going on. You are over-reacting. You also may be a bit unstable and you need to stop reading the tabloid newspapers. Do you believe everything you see with your own two eyes?
The TNReady is just an itty-bitty test to gauge college and career readiness for students (nevermind the test hasn't been validated nor has it been proven to assess college or career readiness). This new test is rigorous, and if you have a problem with rigor, then you are part of the problem. In essence, you are a wimp. You have been too easy on these kids. It is time to toughen up and kick these lazy kids with some rigorous boots to make them stop playing and grow the heck up. Because China is beating us on international tests, and everyone knows China is such a great place to live and raise a family. So, trust us and the testing companies, we know what we are doing here (cough*making a boatload of money*).
Also, don't even think about questioning the fact TN Commissioner of Education Candice McQueen's children are not taking these tests or doing Common Core in their private school in Nashville. That is none of your business.
If your students are "crying, pulling their hair, and just generally feeling defeated" or even vomiting or banging their heads on their desks during the test like other bleeding-heart teachers are claiming... well, that is your fault as their teacher. Obviously, you must have conveyed to the students that this test is incredibly important. You must have acted like their test scores determine your job (which is true, but you shouldn't have acted like it). If you haven't acted that way, (suuure, we believe you) then it must be their parents fault for being helicopter parents and not letting their kids fail.
But let's stop pointing fingers. Wait, I'm not done pointing at you...
As teacher, it is your fault for not teaching them what was on the test they failed. Nevermind the fact that you're not allowed to ever see the test. You should just know. You also should have given them more practice tests so they wouldn't be so stressed. You could have used some of your huge paycheck to buy more test prep materials. The fact that you didn't prepare your students is just plain selfish. You must have been in the teacher's lounge eating vending machine candy bars and playing Candy Crush on your phone instead of teaching. Your students were left to fend for themselves. Shame on you.
And to the teachers who are conveying your "opinions" about these tests to the parents of your students, you are being unprofessional. That is not your job. Your job is to get your students to pass the test. When you share your "opinions" with parents about the tests or Common Core, you are being "political." Even though you may have degrees in education, and even though you may work with their children all year, stop it. You don't know better than the TDOE and testing companies. Don't make us talk to your principal. We have ways of making you keep your mouth shut, ways you'll never be able to prove. So just give up and follow orders like a good little teacher.
Ugh... Even worse than teachers with excuses are the kids who talk and the parents who listen!
If only those pesky parents would just stop asking their kids about what they did at school that day!!! If only children wouldn't open their big mouths about the tests! Those measly kids really don't need to tell anyone about the test questions they had no idea how to answer, or the odd survey questions at the beginning/end of the tests, or how their lunch was delayed 2 hours because their school was testing again, or how their band concert festival was rescheduled/cancelled due to the testing, or how they were ashamed to be on red level on the bulletin board because their RTI2 testing scores weren't high enough to make it to yellow or green like others in the class, or whining how they don't like school anymore... cry-babies, all of them!
All those pathetic complaints just pull at the heart-strings of weak parents. It makes parents start researching things, gosh darnit! Parents want to actually see the tests (which, of course, we cannot allow because they might be smart enough to see the typos/bias/errors/nonalignment). And, heaven forbid parents find out how these tests are scored on curves so it is impossible for every student to be labeled as "passing." Oh, noooo, we can't have that! That information would be disastrous if they knew!!!
All this complaining and researching must stop because it is getting in the way of collecting data and making money for the testing companies, which seriously hinders the money flow of donations to politicians' campaigns. And what will happen if elected officials actually listen to parents and teachers?!?
Just look at what happened when this informed parent in New Jersey opened her big mouth:
So you see, dear dedicated teacher, we cannot have this tyranny.
If those pesky parents would just mind their own business, these tests could be used to do all sorts of wonderful things like:
- close down public schools and open unaccountable private charter schools run by the friends of politicians who can make a boat-load of money with the tax credit and rent payments to themselves!
- fund campaigns to elect politicians who will pass laws to require even more testing and charter schools!
- sell even more of their test prep materials to improve test scores!
- collect data on children that help corporations know who to hire or not hire! (Yes, they can do that, thanks to FERPA law being changed)
- collect data on children to help colleges know who to admit or not admit! (Yes, they can do that, thanks to the FERPA law being changed)
- produce children who will be good little-worker bees for the businesses in our state!
Heck, if pesky parents and teachers weren't in the picture, children could be hooked up kids to IVs to infuse them with amino-acid fluids to keep them awake to do more test prep like they do in China! But then we might also have to put bars on the classroom windows to prevent student suicides. Liability, you know. As you can see, there is nothing too drastic when it comes to getting high scores on the almighty tests.
Parents and teachers know nothing about testing, nor should they. Besides, we've formed task forces to make it appear we are including teachers and parents on these decisions. And we're even asking parents their opinion on what color and flavor they'd like their child's test results to look like. See? The TDOE really is reaching out and collaborating with handpicked shareholders on this! Teamwork makes the dreamwork, people.
Those awful parents who opt out of testing for their kids are the worst! Who do they think they are? It is like they think they know what is best for the kids! As if! Just because they gave birth to the little rugrats doesn't give them the authority to stop them from taking our tests. They are clearly letting their emotions go to their heads. But it is nothing, a little bullying from the state and district will put those parents in their place. They'll give up eventually. Right???
Heck, the TDOE is reducing testing next year because of your complaints, oops, we mean concerns. [Nevermind the fact that the it had already been decided months ago to decrease the testing time. It's true... the TDOE told Superintendents months ago that the testing would be reduced for next year. The TDOE merely recycled the old news to make themselves look better, hoping that the public will feel like they "won" and thus prevent opt-outs for Part 2 of TNReady. Fooled ya, ha!]
So see? You win, parents and teachers. The TDOE is cutting about 50 minutes from the testing for next year (nevermind that the tests will still be over 10 hours long for elementary children, and will be even more high stakes now that there is a new law that will give A-F grades to schools based on the test scores). Now everyone can stop complaining and go back to watching soap operas and playing Candy Crush.
Please, please, please STOP talking to your elected officials! It is making the jobs of the TDOE and testing companies rigorous.
The Momma Bears (using a fake persona of the politicians and appointed officials in our state)