I’m Just Sayin’
Today’s topic will center on high-stakes standardized testing. I am not a fan of these tests for a host of reasons. In fact, I am not a fan of most tests. I do not believe they provide an accurate account of the amount of knowledge and learning that students obtain through their studies. Reading, discussion, writing, and debate all seem to show a better grasp of the subject matter than an objective test. In my eyes, students quickly absorb large amounts of information—mostly by cramming and memorization—and most of it leaves the brain just as quickly as it entered. This is one reason I have so much problem with standardized testing.
Another problem I have with these tests is that they appear to be written for a small percentage of the student population. It is already known that people have different learning, teaching, and communication styles, so why in the hell would one test suffice for everyone? It makes no sense. I applaud the Garfield High School teachers in Seattle, Washington for refusing to administer these tests. We need to stand behind them and follow their lead. We have the numbers and with those numbers, we could take the power, but we have to unite against standardized tests. Teachers, students, and parents need to join forces and say NO MORE! Parents opt your children out of No Child Left Behind (NCLB), it is your legal right to do so. Teachers refuse to administer these tests. Students refuse to take them. If these three things occur, these tests will become a thing of the past.
Another problem I have with the alphabet soup of standardized tests is that they seem to undermine all of the blood, sweat, and tears we lose conducting our studies. This is true not just for students, but for teachers as well. Why is it that after obtaining an undergraduate degree, a post-baccalaureate credential, and for some a masters degree. In addition, we must take the CBEST, CSET, RICA, etc after we having taking the SAT, ACT, GRE, or any other test needed to gain employment. The LSAT, the BAR, the this, or the that. Why isn’t all of the countless number of courses and countless hours of reading, writing, studying, and multiple degrees enough to show that I have mastered my subject? I’ll tell you why—it is because some corporate capitalist cocksucker figured out a way to horn in on the market and make money off of both the state and the individual. What message does this send to our teachers? My take is that the state is telling the teachers, “I’m sorry, we don’t really trust you to prepare your students for the real world, so we are going to give them this test to make sure they learned what we want them to learn.” What a bunch of shit!
Why is Pearson selling textbooks, online components, administering the CBEST and CSET, grading the TPAs, and basically attempting to monopolize public education through privatization? A better question is why are they being allowed to do so? Who is getting the kickbacks to push this policy through? Are state credentialing agencies profiting on the backs of those they are supposed to be looking out for? I’ll give you another acronym to add to the list FUCKMEE—Fascists Using Capitalism to Keep Mostly Everyone Enslaved! Their Neo-Liberal policies of nationalizing, standardizing, and privatizing as many aspects of public education as they can are keeping students and teachers indentured servants to their system. They are fucking over the very people they are supposedly serving. These standardized tests are the tool of conformity. They force teachers and students to conform to drone-like ways of thinking. Therefore, the education system produces workers for the elite instead of critical thinkers that will challenge the status quo. Is that not the oppression of the mind? Is that not mental colonization that subjugates people to working for the profits of the elite while they eke out a meager existence? To add insult to injury most of the people who are making the decisions regarding education have never spent one day as a practicing teacher. What the fuck is that? I am not going to go into the CEO of Jack-in-the-Box’s office and tell her how much of that shitty special sauce to put on my Jumbo Jack, so why in the fuck does she think she knows better than me what and how to teach my students? Something is terribly wrong here!
I am calling for an all out boycott of standardized tests. They do not evaluate teaching or learning. They simply make money for Pearson, Microsoft, and every other company looking to profit on the backs of students and teachers. When is big business going to leave the teaching to the teachers? When are we going to wake up and fund education from PK-G the way it needs to be funded? When are we going to realize that an educated society of critically thinking and engaged citizens is a prosperous society? When are we going to pay teachers what they deserve? If we pay them a professional wage then the quality of those going into the profession will increase. There was a day when the best and the brightest became teachers; today, that is generally not the case. Truth be told, there were many students in my pre-requisite courses that I would have serious reservations about them even teaching my granddaughter how to tie her fucking shoes let alone be involved in shaping her thought process. We need an improved system with better teachers, better pay, better funding, and no Goddamn Neo-Liberal privatization fascists acting as benevolent supporters. I’m Just Sayin’.