Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

"Let Are Kids Walk!" [sic]

Tamara wrote a little riff, inspired by what specifically I don't know, on the movement of our society toward self-esteem, and away from self-respect. A bunch of us chimed in enthusiastically.

Predictably, I guess.

I mean, who doesn't like to think that he has standards? Being against earned self-respect would be akin to being against motherhood. But when you or yours are being denied a boon for not quite measuring up , are you going to quietly accept the standard, or are you going to loudly protest?

Locally, we've been having some parents protest that their kids, some of whom passed their classes with flying colors, are have been deprived of their "right" to walk across the dais to get their diplomas because they couldn't pass a basic skills test of reading comprehension and math.

One parent claims that her kid had a 3.5 GPA, but didn't pass the basic test. "It's disgusting."

You're damned right it is. And the parents may surely have a point to hold the school accountable over. How in the HELL can a child pass high school classes-- cum laude, no less-- when she can't even get a passing score on a standardized test? These tests are not hard, folks! Are they perfect? Far from it. But basically, if you can READ, you'll pass. If you had any right to pass middle school mathematics, you'll pass.

How do I know?

Because the same state those kids have been "educated" in declared that my achievement test scores in sixth grade met the state's expectations for a college-bound senior. I asked the guidance counselor what "12/8" meant on my assessment scores-- I had a line of them alongside things like Reading Comprehension, Logic and Reasoning, and the different fields of Math. Turned out that it meant that was the expected score for someone tested in Grade 12, month 8 (Apparently they didn't test in month 9.). At the time, I thought that it meant that I was pretty frickin' smart.

Friends, I'll let you in on a little secret that I figured out real quick, when I started taking upper-division Philosophy and Symbolic Logic classes my freshman year at U.T.: I'm not that damned smart. I never really was. Frankly, several of the kids that were taking those achievement tests right alongside me have grown up to represent real intelligence, compared to my blue-collar kind of horse-sense. Ask Scott-- he was there.

But don't ask my parents-- they still (bless their pea-pickin' little hearts) think I'm bright, because good parents are proud of their kids.

But you can bet your sweet bippy that my parents wouldn't have been out there campaigning and picketing to get me an honor that I had not properly earned, like these parents: Or if they had, they'd at least have spelled their banner slogan correctly.

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11 Comments:

At Thursday, May 31, 2007 5:37:00 PM, Blogger Babs RN said...

AMEN!!!

 
At Thursday, May 31, 2007 7:30:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to nit-pick or split hairs with anyone, but shouldn't that read "Let OUR kids walk"?

Seems to me there is a whole lack of spelling going on here.

 
At Thursday, May 31, 2007 11:37:00 PM, Blogger Kami said...

Wouldn't you hate to be that woman? LMAO. So sad. So tragic.

 
At Friday, June 01, 2007 12:15:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...

"Not to nit-pick or split hairs with anyone, but shouldn't that read 'Let OUR kids walk'?"

Uh, yep, Anonymous-- that was what I found funny, too.

Am I going to have to throw in a "[sic]" after the title?

Very well...

 
At Friday, June 01, 2007 8:54:00 AM, Blogger shooter said...

Teaching around the TAKS test. One of the reasons I didn't pursue a teaching job.

 
At Friday, June 01, 2007 1:39:00 PM, Blogger BellaLinda said...

Passing a basic skills test in order to graduate isn't exactly a new thing to Texas, either. We went through two different names in the same test when I was in school (I passed that TAAS) & now it's the TAKS.

Now, I've been out of school for 10 years, so it's entirely possible that things have completely changed since I was gone. But I certainly don't remember this "teaching to the test" stuff everyone complains about. And, frankly, I thought that was the whole point. You know: teaching reading, writing, math, science. Isn't that what kids go to school for?

 
At Friday, June 01, 2007 11:51:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

The good teachers complain that when they're teaching just to the test, the results are skewed because there is no liberal (not political meaning) education curriculum. For example, on some tests, the Civil War isn't on it, so it's not taught to. Good point.

The bad teachers don't want to be held accountable for teaching the three R's, because it's just tooo harrrrrrd with some kids, these dayssssss!

 
At Saturday, June 02, 2007 12:54:00 PM, Blogger night lightning woman said...

Don't sniff quite so much. In my work in schools this last year I have run into two cases of kids who did well enough on their SATs to get scholarships but froze on some part of the TXKS and couldn't pass. Thus not graduating and losing the scholarships. Oh, they passed on the re-run, but by then the scholarships were gone. I had to take complicated, lenthy final exams. I took the SAT and PSAT. I don't even understand why someone with a decent college entrance test score should have to take basic skills. Yeah, it's good to overcome anxiety. But some kids freeze on tests, no matter how well they are doing in school. Not everyone, no. But despite "Let ARE kids walk" mom, it's a stupid system, and I'm glad the legislature has abolished it for high schools.

 
At Saturday, June 02, 2007 7:47:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

I agree that it's foolish to make multiple tests be taken to the same end, on the state level.

When I was a freshman, I had to take the TASP test. This was a required skills assessment test to make sure that new college students attending state universities had the requisite skills to even enter the schools. It was independent of the universities' requirements, and was independent of the high school's requirements.

So my high SAT score and good-enough GPA, with an advanced honors diploma from high school, were plenty good enough for U.T. Austin, but bought me zero credit with the TASP.

Worse, although I was attending the largest university in the state (50k+ students), they had no slots open for me, and I had to drive 85 miles early on a Saturday morning to Kileen to a nursing college to take a test that I scored perfectly but for a single math problem on. The writing portion had a two pages provided to write an essay on "What would you do to change our education system today?" Heh. Guess what I wrote about?

 
At Saturday, June 02, 2007 7:49:00 PM, Blogger Matt G said...

But the "I freeze!" arguement is not good enough; in life, we all have to come through in clutches, now and again.

 
At Saturday, June 02, 2007 10:47:00 PM, Blogger Tam said...

"Tamara wrote a little riff, inspired by what specifically I don't know"

I don't know either, except maybe I heard the phrase "self esteem" for the 6,372,912th time, and I just snapped...

 

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