Opine I will

I am a retired elementary school teacher just trying to do the right thing

Anger doesn’t describe it

New York State assessments conclude today. Half of my fifth grade students will have sat through over 9 hours of abusive assessments while the other half opted out and today is the worse day of all. Today’s math test includes overly complicated questions that most of our members of Congress would flub. They are multi-step atrocities that are designed to confuse and befuddle.  I am prohibited to post any of the questions until a select few are released to the public. I am pretty positive the hardest questions will never see sunshine.

Here is a general  idea of what one of these questions looks like.

A factory produces 4,861 items in 30 day. They then package them in crates hold 8 each. These crates are delivered to 26 distributers daily. How many are delivered each week to each distributer?

Ten year old children must be able to answer this question correctly, otherwise their teacher may be labeled ineffective.

Now here is the rub…

The New York State Department of Education issued the following  statement in a press release this week.

 Commissioner Elia said. “With substantive changes and increased guidance for educators, teachers will be able to develop curricula and lesson plans to meet the needs of students in their classrooms. “

The key words here are substantial changes.  That is admission that the standards that today’s tests are designed around are faulty.  Why subject children to 9 hours of abusive testing based on standards that require substantial changes? A warped political agenda is being driven right smack dab at the children on New York.

Anger doesn’t describe my feelings. Our society is being driven over a cliff by an extreme ideology that will destroy our nation. When we look the other way when children are being forced to fulfill an agenda, when we allow school children to go hungry, when we refuse to provide health care, when we demonize a segment of our population, we are heading for a fall.


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5 thoughts on “Anger doesn’t describe it

  1. Really? “A factory produces 4,861 items in 30 day. They then package them in crates hold 8 each. These crates are delivered to 26 distributers daily. How many are delivered each week to each distributer?” If this is the question literally, there at least four grammatic errors in it. Plus, what a stupid question! The company would know how many it delivered and two whom, so the context is ridiculous. I have read textbook math questions from the early 1900’s which would do better even with the obscure references to games no longer played.

    • I paraphrased a typical question. Excuse the grammatical errors.. the actual questions are stupid, the context on these are for the most part ridiculous.

  2. Pingback: Teacher: Most Members of Congress Could Not Pass the Math Test My Fifth Graders Took | Diane Ravitch's blog

  3. “. . .the standards that today’s tests are designed around are faulty.”

    It’s not just that they are faulty, they are non-existent even though they are called “standards”. Here is why:

    The word standard is in the top 1000 most used words in American English and the Miriam Webster online dictionary gives the following definitions :
    1: a conspicuous object (as in a banner) formerly carried at the top of a pole and used to mark a rallying point especially in battle or to serve as an emblem
    2a: a long narrow tapering flag that is personal to an individual or corporation and bears heraldic devices b: the personal flag of the head of state or of a member of a royal family c: an organization flag carried by a mounted or motorized military unit d: banner
    3: something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or example: criterion
    4: something set up and established by authority as a rule for the measure of a quantity, weight, extent, value, or quality
    5a: the fineness and legally fixed weight of the metal used in coins b: the basis of value in a monetary system
    6: a structure built for or serving as a base of support
    7a: a shrub or herb grown with an erect main stem so that it forms or resembles a tree b: a fruit tree grafted on the stock that does not induce dwarfing
    8a: the large odd upper petal of a papilionaceous flower (as of the pea) b. one of the three inner usually erect and incurved petals of an iris
    9: a musical composition (as a song) that has become a part of the standard repertoire
    For the purposes of this discussion, obviously definitions 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 do not concern us. It is the somewhat similar and perhaps inter-confusing definitions of 3 and 4 that interest us.
    As mentioned above before NCLB the definition of standard as used in the individual state’s curriculum standards and even today in curriculum standards promulgated and promoted by subject area organizations such as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics or the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages the term standard as used fell/falls under definition three as they were never meant to be used as “a rule for the measure of a quantity, weight, extent, value, or quality” as in definition four but as a model for teachers to use. Confusing indeed!
    Another way to look at the concept of standards is that there are two accepted types of standards, metrological and documentary.
    Metrology is the science of measurement and a metrological standard “is an object, system, or experiment that bears a defined relationship to a unit of measurement of a physical quantity. Standards are the fundamental reference for a system of weights and measures, against which all other measuring devices are compared. Measurements are defined in relationship to internationally-standardized reference objects, which are used under carefully controlled laboratory conditions to define the units of length, mass, electrical potential, and other physical quantities.”
    A documentary standard “is a document established by consensus and approved by a recognized body, that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in a given context.” Many governmental departments promulgate documentary standards, for example the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) while at the same time being the certifying agent to ensure that the standards are followed. The ISO promulgates international standards but is not the certifying agency, other agencies do the certifying of companies compliance with their standards. The ISO has strict rules for making and issuing standards.

    What we are dealing with are not standards but curriculum goals and objectives that are named as standards. None of the protocols for developing standards were followed in the CCSS process, and barely followed by state departments of ed in developing a “set of standards”. What it is, is a bastardization of the usage of “Standards” in order to make the world believe that we can “measure” a student’s knowledge supposedly against that standard. It’s all a farce, an expensive, illogical, and invalid boondoggle that boggles the mind to think it has been accepted by almost all educators. Sad, very sad!

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