Monday, February 22

Dear Administrators: Don't Screw Your Local School

Here's what happens if you do: My district started

a magnet elementary school that began enrolling students in August 2001. Open to all students in the district and, at first, operated contractually by a private firm, Edison Schools, Feitshans got off to mixed reviews. More than 600 students signed up to attend the school, which quickly developed a waiting list. Yet, complaints soon developed about discipline and security problems.

District officials later acknowledged other elementary schools had encouraged their students with behavior problems to transfer there. Despite efforts to diversify enrollment, other students began pulling out. Eventually, Edison pulled out, too.

So you decide to throw a magnet school contract to a privately held company. BUT you forget to throw up a gate to keep "troubled" kids out? And the teachers and administrators know this and send the undesirables your way? You get what you deserve, douchebags.

Yet another unforeseen side effect of No Child Left Behind is that teachers and administrators at local schools do whatever they can to eliminate poor-performing kids and hold on to high-performing kids. My middle child just missed the cut-off to transfer to the disrict's "gifted" school by three test points. Not three percentage points, three test points. No one at her school told me this, and I don't blame them. The local school desperately needed my kid to meet minimum standards for average test score results. But with all due respect to the awful job local schools are handed, up yours, because I'm going to do what is best for MY kid, not YOUR school. (I also think it's horrible that my district has segregated gifted kids into their own building rather than provide services within the local schools, but if this is what I'm handed I have to use it, as a parent. We advocated and got middle child transferred.)

Probably preaching to the choir here. This testing bullshit is hurting our country's ability to educate its children. Wonder why we have overwhelming drop out rates in this country? Could it have something to do with schools needing to have high average test scores?


  1. Saw a news blurb that a school in Houston will eliminate teachers who can't get students to score high on standardized tests.

    All schools & school districts are not created equal... some have less funding & resources, some have higher poverty levels (clue kids that don't eat breakfast have a harder time learning!)

    And what of kids with learning disabilities, health issues, ADHD, English as a 2nd language, etc... if you load up a classroom w more then 30 kids, it is not just the teacher's sole responsibility to make each individual student succeed.

  2. I would have been beaten (even more severely) if my teachers even suspected that I was copying, but isn't that what school boards all over are all doing now?

    The only test scores that really matter are your own childrens'.
    This Jumbotron scoreboard that has nothing to do with teaching and/or learning is a huge fiction aimed at conjuring a non-existent elite.

    Just one more thing we can praise Reagan for fucking up.

  3. make that "succeeds".

    Plus there are some kids who just don't do well with standardized testing. I swear when my kids were in 5th grade, they started rolling out questions asked in such a convoluted way, my husband the college advanced math graduate was left asking.... What is it they are asking
    in this 5th grade math question?

    This teaching to the test business is not real learning.

  4. Can't blame ya. Also, good for you. My mom went to bat for me a couple of times when I was in elementary school, and she was right to do it, because I wouldn't have - and young kids don't have the framework to do so.

    I went to both public and private schools, although many of them used alternative approaches. The school I taught at was private, but alternative. Some magnet and alternative schools are great, and some not so much. I definitely don't want to see the public school system dismantled, but I can't blame parents for seeking the best for their kids. Also, NCLB mostly sucks, and takes away time from real teaching.

    As for Houston - so is there also a requirement that those kids do their homework, pay attention in class, and are properly placed to begin with? I'm really sick of the punitive mindset toward teachers. It doesn't exist when it comes to soldiers, cops, firefighters...

  5. Anonymous10:00 AM

    Part of the problem is that policy is being made by morons who couldn't pass a first-level graduate examination in statistics. The concept of a mean seems beyond their intellectual capacity, and so they see no problem with designing policies in which everyone is expected to be above average....

  6. Anonymous2:39 PM

    No Child Left Behind was designed so rich white men to make money.

    Silvan Learning centers and other like them have flourished during this program.

    Bushes brother also made good money selling testing to the schools.

    Every program in the Bush government was perverted into crony capitalism.

  7. If you think the 5th grade test is an abomination, I dare you to take the THIRD GRADE MATH released TAKS test for the state of Texas.

    Then take the State mandated for graduation Science or Math at the Exit Level.

    The TEST, not the teachers, is handicapping our public school systems but administrators play the blame game.

  8. The principal at our elementary school tells me that the NCLB goal increases each year, and in the year 2014 every student is to be testing at 100%. Hah!
    What we really need is to start giving Congressmen random UA's for drugs and alcohol. There's a standardized test that would benefit us all.


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