As regents week approaches I think of all the regents classes I taught and the anxiety I felt as my students sat for these exams. The anxiety had nothing to do with statistics or how I would be judged, since no one judged us on statistics when I first started teaching. The anxiety had to do with the love I had for my students and the desire to see them succeed.
Regents exams used to be challenging. Passing meant the student mastered material. I took pride in my results and knew that the kids who succeeded were prepared for future courses. The foundation I helped lay for them was strong. I got them to work and I got them to succeed.
Last year as I worked to get my students through the regents I felt no pride only disappointment in myself. I was a fraud. I taught my students to be little robots, to bubble the answer that seemed best. They learned how to eliminate bad choices. They needed less than 30 points out of 87 to pass. And now these poor unprepared kids are struggling in geometry. Many are failing. They don't have a strong background in algebra and cannot solve the simplest equations. They can't factor either. We taught the bare minimum needed to pass the regents. We were told not to teach trinomials with the first coefficient other than one.
The only thing that matters now are stats, passing stats. No one cares that just passing means the kids know nothing. I feel for the teachers who must commit the frauds to keep their jobs and the poor kids who will sit and struggle through these meaningless exams.
More kids might be graduating now than when I started teaching, but the diplomas mean a whole lot less. The regents are a scam, a money making machine for the companies who write them and a corrupt way of judging teachers and students.