No recess for you! Schools go crazy because of testing : LUSENET : Xeney : One Thread

Schools are getting rid of recess out of fear of tougher testing standards.

The hell?

The United States has lost its freaking mind - first we test them like rats in a cage, and then we freak out because it's not working and take away their recess - let's make a nation of little, miserable, drugged up automotons! So long as they get high scores on tests!

-- Anonymous, May 15, 2001


Sigh. I agree.

I don't really have a problem with accellerating our school system, at least for those kids who can handle the work, but jeez, that's insane.

Wait a minute. I hated recess. Recess was when I used to stand in the playground by myself, wishing someone would play with me.

Now I'm all torn.

-- Anonymous, May 15, 2001

Somewhat encouraging is the fact that some parents are not simply accepting heavily test-based school curriculums:

-- Anonymous, May 15, 2001

i'm sympathetic to the desire to educate them better. Too many products of our public schools are woefully undereducated. But taking away play time, which is fully necessary to education (a break, some fresh air and activity to keep the brain sharp) is just stupid. It's totally the wrong answer to the problem.

-- Anonymous, May 15, 2001

I've yet to meet a single parent yet that says "oh joy! Testing time is once again upon us!!" These tests are a total crock, and they're being misused.

Even the people who developed the tests stress that they are supposed to be diagnostic, not something that is used in decision making about the individual child's future.

That is, it's supposed to be a tool the school and district can use to determine 1) what has been taught 2) what needs to be taught better.

You don't find that info out if the schools are then told that funding will be removed (which leads to them scaring the kids half out of their wits that their own future will be ruined if they 'fail'). NONE of these tests are supposed to be about the child failing anything - either the kid knows or they don't know, and then the school should adjust their teaching accordingly.

Instead, months and months are spent every single school year teaching the kids - the material the test is supposed to find out if they know? NOPE! - they're taught how to pass the test.

Any actual knowledge that slips in as a result is purely by accident and of course every minute spent cramming for the test is a minute they'll never have that's actually devoted to learning anything.

My oldest is in the middle of assessments for every class she has - in two years the district is planning to make these tests the criteria for whether or not a student can graduate. Screw whether or not they learned anything - a kid can be a straight A student that doesn't do standardized tests well, and they won't graduate high school.

meanwhile, all her classes have ground to a total halt so they can do 'test prep', and when the tests start, each one (7 classes total are doing tests) will be 3 hours long with no break and no one allowed to use the bathroom.

It's a big time sucking waste.

As for recess, that's pretty well disappeared... my youngest (7) occasionally gets outdoor time during 'gym', which is 3 times a week. But it's never unstructured.

I have no idea what the schools think they're preparing these kids for - even the most automaton job I ever held required critical thinking. What are they supposed to do when they're faced with an unexpected crisis that can't be solved by filling in the circle completely with their number 2 pencil?

-- Anonymous, May 15, 2001

And if your 4th/7th/10th grader doesn't get into the 90th percentile . . so what?

Who cares about these tests? I mean, for the super-schwicky Ivy Leagues, you're probably already behind the curve. And the rest of the schools just seem to care about a well rounded kid with decent scores in the upper-middle of the spectrum. If you dog your kid about test scores, you're a bad bad parent.*

For the record (and in the interests of full disclosure), I've a very very (berry) low opinion of standardized tests. Why? I've always blown them out of the water, and they're chiefly reponsible for my apparent ability to cruise through academia without ever having to lift a finger.

But they're a piss-poor reflection of an ability to work hard (I'm the laziest summabitch you've ever met) or produce significant results (I either know or don't know something- learning is a mysterious art for me).

So, while I realize that it always helps to do well, I think it's a damn shame folks put as much stock as they do in this testing regime. 9 of 10 times, I'd take hard worker over someone who hit the 95th percentile of the testing scores.

*this takes care of my daily recommended dose of value judgements.

-- Anonymous, May 15, 2001

Awww, Beth, I'll come play with you.

I was that kid too. I used to go off to the edge of the field by the trees and play make believe by myself. Usually I pretended to be a spaceship captain stranded on another planet, borrowing liberally from the cartoons Grandizer and The Herculoids.

-- Anonymous, May 16, 2001

I've yet to meet a single parent yet that says "oh joy! Testing time is once again upon us!!" These tests are a total crock, and they're being misused.

Nor have I ever heard a teacher express that.

I'm scared by the getting rid of recess idea--not just because of the testing, but because I think kids need a break in their day. I think all people do, really. I've examined my work habits and my college habits--I give myself two 15 minute recesses every day. At least.

Now I'm pitying the high school and middle school kids.

-- Anonymous, May 16, 2001

I'm so with you, Gabby. To the point that my kids will not be attending public or private school when it comes time. We're homeschooling.

My older son would be one of those probably immediately requested to go on Ritalin because he is very high-energy and very perceptive. He notices everything that goes on and his attention goes to the most interesting to him. Definitely not a teacher's idea of a good little student who happily takes in whatever the teacher/school district deems important for that day.

I plan on letting my son lead the way - world offers us enough openings to learn the many things school packages up. While preparing a meal, you cover economics, math, chemistry, home ec, etc. if you just take advantage of the moment. We'll be able to plan our own schedules with however many breaks we need; and they will be more in tune to the way society actually works by being out in the world interacting with people of all ages, rather than cooped up with 30 other kids their own age.

I feel so sad for kids these days and how schools are pushing pushing pushing for testing, when it's so obvious how their time is spent: not on learning things, rather lessons on sitting still, waiting turns, paper pushing, and how to be a good little drone. John Taylor Gatto has it so right in his book, "Dumbing Us Down".

-- Anonymous, May 16, 2001

I hear the arguement about a break in the day - but what about the greater good recess does? Huh? While I'm not a flag waving athletics fan, there is much to be said about learning how to 1) combat stress through exercise 2) not gain a bizillion pounds by sitting on your arse all day studying, and 3) interacting with others.

-- Anonymous, May 18, 2001

All of these responses highlight the core reasons why I'm going to become a teacher - someone has got to go in and fight these testing pricks for the hearts and minds of the kids. To help kids see that there is a world of learning that is fun and engaging and challenging and has not a damn thing to do with Scantron forms. There were a handful of teachers that changed my life and I'd like to repay the favor.

Down with testing.

-- Anonymous, May 19, 2001

Curtis asks:

Who cares about these tests? I mean, for the super-schwicky Ivy Leagues, you're probably already behind the curve.

The universities aren't the primary group behind the testing mania these days; it's the politicians. You've heard all the rhetoric about "our failing schools," perhaps? Our elected officials need some way of winnowing the wheat from the chaff, and how are they to do so without standardized tests? [1] If schools wanna keep their funding and accreditation, they may have no choice but to prepare students for the tests, even if that gets in the way of their education.

[Footnote 1: This is a rhetorical question. Feel free to answer it, if you like; just bear in mind that it doesn't reflect my perspective.]

I've been ranting about this for years now, not that it really matters. I suppose it's just one more factor to support my decision to homeschool any progeny I might have down the line, if my primary reason weren't enough...

-- Anonymous, May 20, 2001

Speaking of which... it doesn't help matters when the tests aren't graded accurately. (NYTimes registration required)

-- Anonymous, May 20, 2001

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