I've been proctoring it for 7 years now and I have my flight attendant voice (Make sure you make a dark mark. If you need to change an answer, please make sure to erase it completely) down, I know to sit in the back so I can see them all, get up to circulate every 5 minutes, have a little speech prepared if they ask for help, and I have granola bars for the kids who forget breakfast.
But it still sucks. Our state test will soon be replaced by another "computer-based" (yeah, right, that's totally going to happen!) test that a bunch of states have signed up for.
How will kids in Massachusetts do? On average, probably really well. On the lifetime educational Chance for Success index (it looks at things like preschool/K1-2 enrollment, elementary reading achievement, high school graduation rate) and the K-12 achievement that actually looks at the result of the poverty gap and how kids improve year to year, my state is #1.
But it still makes me (who is not necessarily against standardized testing) feel squicky when a kid at lunch tells me that there was a change in the script. He's had so many teachers read him the same test instructions that he caught on to 1 word added.
Don't get me wrong—I think it's important to have a dipstick that tells us how kids are doing and feel that it's vital to our democracy that our high school graduates be capable from state to state (or even town to town), but it kills me that we're over testing our kids.
I wish we lived in a country where all teachers were dedicated, had the same standards, and enough funding to teach kids (seriously go here and tell me it doesn't make you sad to know that these teachers are so desperate for supplies), but we don't. Our inner city and minority students continue to do worse on average than their white peers from suburbs.
While nearly 50% of US students in public schools are minorities, less than 20% of teachers are. In places like Boston, money is given to underperforming schools (those at the very, very bottom) while those at the near bottom aren't given extra funds. And what happens when those schools start to improve? Funding is cut. So the programs that worked? Gone. And the cycle repeats and kids and families lose faith.
As my career has progressed, I've worked in wealthier and wealthier districts. But not on purpose. (Seriously, once, at an interview at a city school, one of the board members asked how I could relate to inner city black girls. The principal kindly told him that I was black, English wasn't my first language, and grew up a few blocks away. He looked shocked. I didn't want to work for him.)
But these districts have always been involved in METCO , and it always kills me that some kids are waking up at 5 in the morning and not getting home until 4 so they can have better opportunities.
Fuck that shit. All kids should be able to sleep until 7 and have the same opportunities in this country.
So basically, what I need all of you to do is drop everything, become a teacher, and fix this shit with me.