Monday, April 13, 2009

The Seventh Stage of SBA Grieving: Acceptance?

If my poor memory serves me correctly, sometime late last week I typed the following into the little "Blogger" WYSIWYG word processor:

Well, here's a newsflash to SBA overlords: we don't care about the SBAs. We really don't.

For those not initiated into Edunyms (educational acronyms), "SBA" stands for Standards-Based Assessment, which is itself a Eduphemism (educational euphemism) for "high-stakes testing" which is another Eduphemism for the "test scores that show up in the newspaper and determine whether a school has to do 'Continuous Improvement' crap", which is another Eduphemism wrapped in an Edunyms, wrapped in an enigma.

But I digress.

Average folks, who don't obsess over SBAs, newspaper accounts of SBA scores and just want to know which school they should send their Johnny or Jenny might find it a little provocative for a paid public school teacher to say:

Well, here's a newsflash to SBA overlords: we don't care about the SBAs. We really don't.

Likewise, a slighly-to-greatly more high-paid public school administrator might not like the idea that their employees are saying things like:

Well, here's a newsflash to SBA overlords: we don't care about the SBAs. We really don't.

And I can understand that from both the concerned parent and concerned administrator angles. I admit it's a tad bit provocative for a teacher to write:

Well, here's a newsflash to SBA overlords: we don't care about the SBAs. We really don't.

I also admit that I tend to think of the term "provocative" as a value-positive term, but that's the subject for another blogpost. My interest this early morning is asking a question to all those in public education, from Johnny and Jenny, to concerned parent, to teachers provocative and unprovocative alike, to concerned administrator.

What the Hell are those opposed to how "assessment" is now implemented, enforced, funded, and reported supposed to do?

Note: I"m not saying kids shouldn't be held to rigorous academic standards. Quite the opposite. What I'm saying is that those standards are being perversely assessed.

Right now we have a situation where a large majority of those practicing public education oppose something, but are afraid to really say anything for fear of retribution. Oh, they'll complain and rant plenty in the privacy of a informal teacher confab in the halls between classes, maybe even rant a bit at a unrecorded staff meeting. But anything past this, and/or, frankly, the occasional "anonymous" comment to some silly blog is considered too dangerous.


I'm afraid I don't really have the time this morning to even begin to answer the "What the Hell" question, and rather doubt I'm smart enough to ever come up with an answer. Honestly, the question seems rhetorical to me in this environment. What I'd really like to see is somebody out there (yes, one of the three people reading this here thing) throw me a compelling answer to the "What the Hell" question.

Hint: The answer shouldn't simply contain the phrase "get the Union involved", for reasons that are, hopefully, painfully obvious.

The only options I'm seeing right now are: 1. Keep quiet and eventually it will all go away. This is, by far, the majority position; 2. Meaninglessly complain about it in private hallway discussion and at noisy staff meeting (oh, and in useless blogposting).

I'd like to add a third option:: Engage in the process and make the changes happen. But where does one engage, when just about everyone is trying to keep quiet, waiting for it all to go away?


maggie said...

We are thrilled about the SBA at our house either- our oldest had a completely messed up scedule last and our two youngest will have taken 3 weeks of interupted classes to finish the thing-
ick, blech!

Anonymous said...

Back in the olden days we used to protest. Wouldn't it be nice next year, during testing, to see all teachers on an informational picket line in front of the parents protesting the idiocy of it all. If every morning for 2 weeks, no teachers showed up, I bet the media might even roll over and pay attention. It really surprises me, that after all this time, the parents who are going nuts about how a cheese sandwich hurts their childs self esteem, are curiously silent when their special ed's child is given a test at their grade level, when they are being taught 3 to 5 years below that level. What the %%$* do they think that does to their self esteem.

Anonymous said...

WTF? Special Ed students (my preschool son is in Child Find) are given tests that are designed for children who are not developmentally delayed!? seriously?

jscotkey said...

Anon the Last:

Yup. SpEd kids get the same test. There are certain, terribly inadequate, "accommodations" and "modifications", (like having teachers read the questions out loud), but it's the same test.

Remember NO CHILD left behind.

Outrageous, huh? Please pass this factoid on to as many people as possible. It's the single greatest travesty in what is a system of travesties. Why it hasn't been changed after all these years is simply unfathomable.

P.S.: I just looked at this post I wrote this morning and the number of typos, etc. was extremely embarrassing. I gotta get a copy editor. More to the point, I gotta get better reading 5:45 in the morning I simply CANNOT SEE until the 3rd cup of coffee. Your humble blogger humbly apologies. And hereby hangs a "copy editor wanted" sign upon his virtual front door next to the "Open/Closed" sign and the list of "today's specials".

jscotkey said...

P.S.: Perhaps the single most depressing PowerPoint I have ever seen (now THERE'S a competitive competition) can be found here:

It's a training manual for how to perform "alternative assessment" for those profoundly low in "cognitive ability and adaptive behavior".

In other words: how to standardized test them. NO CHILD left behind.

Anonymous said...

"Right now we have a situation where a large majority of those practicing public education oppose something, but are afraid to really say anything for fear of retribution."How scary is that?!

Anonymous said...

ASININE. other than forwarding this information to every parent of a special kid I can find...what else can I do to stop this STUPID TESTING?!!?

Anonymous said...

found this gem on that cesspool of a website...

my son and his Child Find classmates generate $8K each for their respective schools? there are 10 kids in his class alone! where is that $80K going?

Anonymous said...

I guess the thing to do is to do something beside speak to the computer. Thomas Paine, Gandhi, King, Chavez, Attucks, names of people so fed up with the same ol, same ol they did something beside find comfort and comaraderie in the teachers' lounge. It was nearly a year ago that the Babble posted the news of one Carl Chew boycotting the test in Seattle. Back in the olden days, we'll call it last year, folks didn't wait for others to lead; they led. If you build it, they will come. Begin the building.