Thursday, March 23, 2006


This week was LEAP testing. I gave the iLEAP (whatever the hell place that holds in the universe) to four 9th graders in special ed and my job was to read the tests to them. It was nice to make a bond with these four children. They went at the tests with no whining, with gusto even. On the last day (yesterday) we had the reading comprehension section and I was not allowed to read the passages to them and I could see the fire fade in their eyes and the worry set in. I have a friend who says that politicians ought to take the Graduate Exit Exam that all high school students have to pass, even the students with society-tested, doctor-verified situations or conditions that render them officially incapable of passing the test, and publish the politicians' scores. I think so too. It's too easy to sit on the self-imposed and self-congratulatory "I'm an adult" throne and toss out edicts. Excuse me, but does anyone think our president could pass the high school GEE?
But to get off the soapbox...
Today I went to a wake for a student at our school who died Sunday in a car wreck. I didn't know the girl but I do teach her best friend who was in the car with her. They were both from Chalmette, now living on the northshore and going to Mandeville High School. Enough said.
Today I also started Great Expectations with my freshmen. It's a hard novel. I remember trying to read it in high school and hating it but reading it later in life and loving it. So I told them that. In one of the classes we talked about the difficulties and abuses so many children experience and I waxed romantic about how amazing the human spirit is, that it can endure such abuse and still rise, and students told stories, and I told mine, and one of my students said, "some of us do not rise." I think something important is going to happen in this class.


Blogger Nancy McKeand said...

Good to hear from you again.

Part of what you do is help students rise. And yes, something important is going to happen in that class. I'm sure of it!

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Cassandra said...

:::hands you a bar of soap for your box:::

I am tired of one of the little girls at my church vomiting at school a couple of times a week because she so petrified she will fail the TAKS (state test). Her teacher told her class that it wouldn't be possible to prepare the class like they needed and that many of the students would fail. How dare a teacher tell her students she cannot teach them enough? Why can't the teacher just stop telling the students she can't teach them enough and spend the time teaching, instead of reminding them of her lack of abilities? I talked with this little girl's mom and told her to call me if she believes her daughter needs any help preparing for the test. If her teacher won't help her, THIS teacher will!

7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in Illinois we have the ISATs, and of course they are *SO* important because of Shrub and every child left behind.

Thing is, the company who makes them screwed them up bigtime. Tests arrived to schools late, some were incomplete. The ones my kid took were extremely stupid--on several questions none of the four multiple choice answers actually answered the question being asked.

And my favorite--half the kids in her class took tests on fractions while the other half were asked measurement questions. How can you get meaningful results when the kids weren't tested on the same material? I complained to the head office for the school district, and I was basically pooh-poohed.

Today the school I subbed at had signs up about how last year they had the highest ISAT scores in town. No surprise--they spend an hour a day teaching to the test, in addition to having the kids prep for it using a special computer program.

It is all so stupid--I hate standardized testing.


11:05 PM  

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