Saturday, December 18, 2010

Is Santa For Real?

Report cards came out this week.   I know my calculus kids did well, they always go off the scale with grades.  My algebra kids are a mixed bag, most failing two or more subjects.  I'm not looking at their report cards.  It is a waste of time.  No matter that I griped, I tried going the data route, seeing how they did in the past and how they are doing in my class in comparison to others, but it didn't help.  Statistics up the kazoo do nothing to change reality.

Now the new plan is in school tutoring, done by teachers in the school, with small groups of students.  (Teachers are getting paid extra for this.)  One day many of the kids were told to report to the auditorium for a few minutes. When they came back, I asked, "What was that all about?"  A girl showed me a paper and said, "Now we are being told we are poor and stupid."  She was holding the application for the tutoring program in her hand.

I really didn't think much about this until several weeks later when many of my calculus kids were given letters telling them about this tutoring.  (These kids provide much of the school tutoring, they do not need it.) And then it hit me, if these kids are being offered tutors, maybe my algebra kids, the kids who really need it, are being offered tutors as well.  These are kids that will not readily avail themselves of this service so I set out on a mission to find out exactly which of my students are eligible and how to make sure they took advantage.  Seemed like a good idea, right?  Wrong!  From what I heard, getting this list will be a task itself.  The hours the tutoring is set up now are not ones the my kids can or will be able to use.  (They are either too early or during the time they have other classes.)  Saturday hours are coming.  I hope the kids will use those.  The thing that distressed me the most about the tutoring program was hearing the children are being tested.  YES, TESTED!!!!!!  More tests and more data to see what we already know the kids do not know.  This is probably some federal mandate, thought of by people like Bill Gates who have never stepped foot in a classroom or talked to a struggling teen, but I don't know that for sure.

I'm tired of looking at data and I am tired of enquiries that look good on paper and do nothing to help.  I'm tired of seeing frustration on the faces of kids who are struggling in class and I am tired of the ones who act out to hide their inability to do the work.

STOP THE TESTING!  TRASH THE DATA! 
Data will fix the problem the same way Santa will deliver the gifts at Christmas.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Saturday classes at my former school had 2 types of kids--struggling and enrichment. The thing is, teacher input helped set up those classes. Here the teacher was dismissed and "data" used instead otherwise you would have known this was happening. In fact, all staff members should have been told. So to do this, don't they have to post the openings for these jobs? Who is getting paid and how where they chosen?

Pissed Off said...

Jobs were posted and everyone had the same opportunity to apply.