Friday, January 23, 2009
When the birds begin to sing, it's a sure harbinger of spring. When the leaves cover the ground like an orange blanket, autumn is on its way. And when the DOE gives an ELA test that's so easy that Shemp could get a 4, you know that the mayor is seeking to pad his resume in preparation for a third term.
I've proctored a lot of ELA exams in my day. Usually there's at least an attempt to ask a few tough questions, but not this year. There was basically no need for inferencing whatsoever, as almost every question could be answered by returning to the text. The questions went something like this:
TEXT: Curly was often sad when Moe turned around without looking and clobbered him with a ladder.
QUESTION: How did Curly feel when Moe bonked him with a ladder?
B. With his toes.
C. Scared of heights
Now, you might think it's a bad thing for tests to be dumbed down to the point where any carbon based life form could pass them. But no. The chatter around my school today focused on how good this would make us all look. With these new teacher report cards, everyone was feeling pretty optimistic about the future.
Me, I guess I'm the glass half-empty guy. The test can't get any easier next year unless they make it a pop-up book. So what happens when all the great grades we'll earn this year evaporate? How will our report cards look then? Are your kids going to make their AYP in 2010?
Of course, many teachers, like some of those I heard gloating about the test, will be long gone by then. Only the veterans know that the DOE will use the inevitable downturn as a way to poke us in the eyeballs, Moe style. Once the mayor gets his third term all bets are off.