alternative news


September 19, 2014 By Joseph P. Farrell

Most of you are aware that I have nothing but disdain for the edubabblers and teacher certification process, not to mention the mind-numbing grip of standardized tests on the American "edgykayshun" establishment, and that I have nothing but admiration for the teachers trying to swim upstream against the flood standing in their way of teaching their students. They put up with an endless amount of twaddle of "methods" and "pedagogy" classes to obtain their "credential", often times in classes employing such kindergarten exercises that one cannot believe adults would be subjected to it merely to get that credential. And we've seen endless "reforms" that all end up doing the same old things: (1) costing more money to (2) administer more standardized tests to (3) an increasingly dumbed down student population who, in my experience, are far from unintelligent, but rather, simply not given challenging instruction because increasingly their teachers must "teach to the test," and perform countless hours in wasted activities attending time-wasting meetings...

... it's a miserable litany and any teacher who has been through it knows what I am talking about, from the elementary school teacher all the way up to the beleagured and besieged and always underpaid college adjunct professor (been there, done that!) dealing with fat and incompetent and vastly overpaid "administrators." If you think I'm wrong, just consider the fact that, within edubabble circles, the word "psychometry" means precisely the statistical process of standardized test measurements, and that within esotericism, psychometry means the "imprint" of an individual's soul on objects within their everyday environment, the goofiness in each case being symbolized by the use of the same term(though I strongly suspect much less goofiness in the latter case than the former).

Well, the revolt against all this educlaptrap, psychoblither, and methodmadness seems to be spreading a bit, as the following article suggests:

Teacher: No longer can I throw my students to the ‘testing wolves’

Allow me to quote the passages again:

"My life changed dramatically after a Facebook lament I wrote was published on The Answer Sheet last March. I was explaining how weary I was from the political addiction to mass standardized testing and how educationally abusive it had become to so many of the students in my care.

"Last spring, you wouldn’t find the fifth-graders in my Language Arts class reading as many rich, engaging pieces of literature as they had in the past or huddled over the same number of authentic projects as before. Why? Because I had to stop teaching to give them a Common Core Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) online sample test that would prepare them for the upcoming PARCC pilot pre-test which would then prepare them for the PARCC pilot post test – all while taking the official Ohio Achievement Tests. This amounted to  three tests, each  2 ½ hours, in a single week, the scores of which would determine the academic track students would be placed on in middle school the following year.

"In addition to all of that, I had to stop their test prep lessons (also a load of fun) to take each class three floors down to our computer lab so they could take the Standardized Testing and Reporting (“STAR”) tests so graphs and charts could be made of their Student Growth Percentile (SGP) which would then provide quantitative evidence to suggest how these 10-year-olds would do on the “real” tests and also surmise the teacher’s (my) affect on their learning.

"Tests, tests, and more freakin’ tests."

Tests, tests, and more freakin tests. Indeed.

But that's just scratching the surface. I'm bold to suggest that the problem is (as it usually is) (1) the government and specifically the federal government, (2) the process of "certification" itself, (3) the silly notion that one must divide students into "grades" and shunt them around in classes lasting a mere 50 minutes, (4) a testing corporate cartel consisting of a few corporations involved in a pseudo-"scientific" enterprise whose roots are murky, whose results are murkier, and that they in turn serve (5) a power elite that does not want a culture and society of creative individuals nor to allow teachers to teach and professors to profess.

Want to change education, genuinely reform it? Get rid of EdDs, get rid of administrators in universities and colleges and restore faculty and academic disciplines to central prominence, get the federal government out of the business, throw out the dubious standardized tests, allow mastery of the discipline itself and not "certification" to qualify teachers.

Or, to put it in Ms. Neely-Randall's far more eloquent terms: " I am just a teacher and I just want to teach."

And here's the bad news, it's even worse - much much worse - than even she relates. As the old adage goes, the devil is in the details, and in this case, there's an assessment Asmodeus lurking like a worm at the heart of the common core.

See you on the flip side.