Thursday, March 9, 2017



Testing Bribes

One of the biggest challenges connected with the Big Standardized Test is also one of the most important-- getting students to actually care.

State and district officials all across the country have largely failed-- and they know it.

Why, yes, I am very excited about the PARCC test.

This is less of a challenge with the littles. A primary teacher can tell her students, "I need you to put your dead possum on your head while poking yourself in the bellybutton with a red crayon," and those children will knock themselves out racing to grab the best piece of roadkill like it is the Most Important Thing Ever. When you're eight, hardly anything in the world makes sense, so you just trust the adults you love and do your best to make them proud of you.

Even so, the word has gotten out that the BS Test is a waste of everyone's time, and the parent-driven opt out movement has spread the word that you don't actually have to suffer through this baloney.

And by the time students arrive at the high school level, they have caught on to the con. They know there's nothing of any importance to them riding on this aimless exercise in baloney bubbling.

All of this is why, throughout the modern reform era, we have seen a cottage industry in testing pep rallies and testing pep videos and chirpy songs with new lyrics about how [insert your school here] is just the most awesome school that is going to be so awesome with its awesome results on the awesome test. You can watch them by the hundreds on youtube, each one a well-scrubbed American version of a Hitler youth meeting or a Chinese Communist political rally-- just instead of honoring our Beloved Leader, we bow down to the BS Test instead.

This year, the winner of the test-prep excess award is Eva Moskowitz, whose Success Academy has rented Radio City Music Hall for the annual "Slam the Exam So We Can Generate Good Numbers for Our Marketing Rally." RCMH has reportedly cut Moskowitz a deal on the price but it's still worth