Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I'm Wondering About Over-Compliance

Today could be counted as the 32nd day of slicing, but it's also time for the weekly slice of life on Tuesdays. The weekly Slice of Life is hosted by twowritingteachers.wordpress.com. Everyone is welcome to join in the writing and the commenting. 

I have been saving this post, but after hearing about the SBAC debacle that went on in my daughters' high school yesterday, this post is inspired by the picture that I took last week of an unlucky computer.

Our principal is holding this laptop which is on its way to the garbage, having been the recipient of a stressed out student's regurgitated lunch. Initially, there was a huge debate over what to do with the computer, but alas, there is no easy way to clean that sort of mess out of a keyboard.

 Yesterday, there were problems with the SBAC platform. No one could exactly explain the issues, but the pronoun "they" was prevalent. I have begun to wonder who "they" are. "They" have created these tests, "they" have developed the platform, "they" are administering this field test so that "they" can calibrate the test (which is another post, because isn't is a standards-based test and doesn't calibrating a test imply a norm-referenced test? Just wondering...), and "they" have established an incredibly complex protocol for teachers and set of directions for students.

Before I continue, I should say that I fully support the Common Core State Standards and their intent. That being said, the administration of the test to ensure that schools are teaching them has me scratching my head. Yesterday, my high school senior had only two hours of school, my high school freshman watched a movie for 2 1/2 hours that they did not discuss, and my high school sophomore sat and drew her name in elaborate designs for two hours while the SBAC did not load. She was not sure what the other 150 sophomores did during this time while their tests did not load. Today went a little differently. My oldest went to school at 10, instead of 11, my youngest watched another movie and at least was asked to fill out a worksheet about it (sarcasm is dripping here), and my middle daughter was chastised by her friends because she wrote an essay, as opposed to writing strings of random letters, which most of them discovered would get them quickly through the test.

Tonight, we had a family discussion about compliance, as I'm not sure that I disagree with her consonant-stringing friends. If we were all in Stanley Milgram's obedience to authority experiment right now, how high would the voltage be? I'm wondering.

Thanks for listening,


  1. Just finished a Twitter chat about the PARCC, and heard a lot of "they", too - even the NJDOE person participating using this "they". We are gearing up for our state test - more of "they". Interesting to tie this to Milgram's experiment, and very apt. The thing is, the voltage has been increasing in an incremental way - I feel that we are sort of conditioned already. Conditioned to the "they" and feeling I must shut my classroom door and teach the way I believe I must...for as long as I can. How sad for your girls, though, and students like them - education becomes a joke, even as they are scrambling and working ever harder for a dwindling number of seats at "the colleges of choice." Education is now rigged against our children.

  2. Wow! We haven't had too many complaints, just a lot of kids being finished in 15-20 minutes. It will be interesting to see what "they" do with the data this field test yields!

  3. My niece is in 7th grade and she refers to CCSS as "THE COMMON CORE" like it is a collective being trying to mess up their lives. And well, she is probably right. *sigh*

    1. I would debate that with your niece, as I have no problem with the CCSS--I think that they raise the bar for really important skills. My issue is with the SBAC, and I don't know how I'd resolve it as I do think there has to be an assessment. It's complicated, and I worry about the 7th graders of the world!!!