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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Local newspaper quotes about standardization

From Connect Savannah, writer Stacey Kronquest's article, Testing Boundaries: Parent Coalition pushes back against current standardization

"Almost 40 percent of Georgia's eighth graders failed the standardized math test."

"But the validity of Georgia's tests was called into question this year. Eighty percent of sixth and seventh graders failed the Social Studies CRCT, prompting Georgia Secretary of Education Kathy Cox to throw out the score because they weren't deemed trustworthy assessments of what was being taught."

"A typical first grader going to public school in Chatham County takes seven to twelve standardized tests, not including practice tests."

"Nationally, there is a rally cry against NCLB (No Child Left Behind), with education experts such as Alfie Kohn arguing that "people with little understanding of how children learn have imposed a heavy-handed, top-down, test-driven version of school reform that is lowering the quality of education in this country."

"[Michael] Moore, [a professor at Georgia Southern University in the Department of Curriculum], says that testing in Savannah schools is equal to a least one month of teaching."

"The [Parent] coalition has met with the Savannah-Chatham Board of Education and district Superintendent Thomas Lockamy twice, and insist they want to help the district in two areas: to align student evaluation with the vision of the Board of Education — "to ignite a passion for learning" — and to assist the district in finding out why teachers are leaving."

"The coalition claims there is some sort of standardized test given in 70 out of 180 school days, and because the stakes are so high, teachers are forced to teach to the test. Teacher are in agreement that the pervasive testing culture not only affects teacher retention, it is anti-learning."

It continues on to say how parents are sending their children to private schools and why teachers are leaving the district. The District Superintendent is planning on conducting a test audit in a sampling of different schools.

THIS is a major reason why we are homeschooling. Even in kindergarten, Camille was put through testing boot-camp where the kids were taught catchy songs about passing the test and her elementary school even had a PARADE complete with T-shirts for parents to buy. Camille was absent from school that day, due to the fact I didn't want to put her into a situation to defend my choice of her not participating, and that was the only day she missed out of the entire year which messed up her perfect attendance record. I do have to say that since homeschooling, she has had perfect attendance for two years straight.

I don't tend to write about reasons to homeschool, but the current public school testing culture is a major one. I'd love to keep this article, highlight it and laminate it for the next time someone asks why we homeschool. I pray that the Parent Coalition in the Chatham County school district can be instrumental to positive changes, the kids need it desperately.

The article quoted above has not been changed with the exception of added information to explain who is being quoted, which was also in the article. The article is how the author wrote it as shown in the Connect Savannah Aug. 27-Sep. 2, 2008 newspaper, page 8-9 of the News & Opinion section.



Tiffany said...

Oh wow! I didn't realize we were so close (less than two hours). By the way, I sent you an e-mail asking about something else you blogged about...not sure if you got that or not.

But yes, on topic...I also am very anti-standardized testing. My local school district has "specialists" sent in by the state each year because so many kids fail the tests. Just recently the district lost a ton of funding due to poor performance. So starts the vicious cycle, and only the kids suffer. It's just awful.

Michele said...

Wow, that parade sounds really frightening!


Anonymous said...

We also have a situation like the one you described in our MN town. The "no child left behind" program has deemed that almost all the schools in our very small district are failing because they didn't make the required increase in testing scores last year. What that means is that there is now an even LARGER emphasis on testing than there previously was otherwise our district will be forced to spend more money on special programs. So, it just keeps us knowing that homeschooling is very much the right place to be.

CookieMonster said...

I'm sorry, but this just shocks the tar out of me. I'm not anti-standardized testing. I'm not. I took one standardized test almost every year from 1st - 12th grades. It took 1-2 school mornings, depending on the grade I was in. It didn't kill me. It was good practice for the SAT. It was a useful way to measure my learning and progress. I intend to give my kids yearly standardized tests - for the baseline academic measurement and for the practice.

But testing 70 out of 180 days of school? That's warped. Common Sense has left the building (long ago!). Where are the leaders who possess discretion and wisdom??