A teacher wreaks havoc upon her students’ college-and-career readiness by denying them the test prep they’ve come to expect…
By Sarah Lahm
In a shocking display of misplaced priorities and poor judgment, a teacher in [INSERT NAME OF CITY OR TOWN HERE] made an irreparable error this week. Instead of *teaching to the test,* as she had been subtly, yet repeatedly, instructed to do, this teacher committed the unforgivable sin of teaching her students about the test. This shocking breach occurred in the middle of what used to be known as April but will hence forth and forever be known as National High Stakes Testing Month.
The scene of the crime
Yes, it is true. As soon as we heard about this horrible mishap, we rushed over to College or Bust Middle School, to interview as many of the affected children as we could. First up? One Michael Lawrence, who described the situation this way:
“A couple of weeks ago, we stopped reading about the Spanish Inquisition and started getting ready for testing, which is what we always do. Our teacher’s name is Ms. Lucid, and she’s pretty new at our school. So she must have gotten the wrong instructions or something, because she didn’t give us a bunch of practice tests and talk to us about how to get lots of rest the night before the big tests, and stuff like that.
Instead, she put some sample test questions up on the white board and started asking us what we thought of the test questions. It was weird at first, but then it kind of started to make a lot of sense. She asked what we thought about the reading passage up on the screen, which was a long poem about some guy’s socks. Ms. Lucid pointed out that whoever wrote the test wanted us to be able to guess what they thought the meaning of the poem was, because one of the questions says: ‘Which of the following sentences best describes the meaning of the poem?’
This kid next to me, my friend Luis, said, ‘What if we don’t think any of the sentences describe the meaning of the poem? Is there, like, a place for us to write what we think about the poem? Because I don’t think it’s really about this guy’s socks at all. I think it’s more about, like, how he wants to have somebody make something just for him, like his grandma used to. My grandma used to make stuff for me, too.’”
Silly kids! How will they know what to think if we don’t make them try to guess what the right thing is for them to think?
Next up was Grace Norris, who said she was very confused by the way Ms. Lucid was talking about the tests they had to take:
“Ms. Lucid said that the tests weren’t really trying to find out what we knew or thought, but were more about, like, if we could guess what the people who wrote the test wanted us to say. She showed us this other passage, that was about how calories were good for us and gave our bodies energy, but how we shouldn’t eat too much or then we wouldn’t be healthy. And I was, like, thinking about some of the kids I knew in my old neighborhood who sometimes didn’t have enough food and so this guy on our block would give them fruit and other stuff from his refrigerator. Then I started thinking about where I used to live, and I forgot about what the test was about anyway. Now I can’t remember at all. I’m pretty sure I’m going to fail.”
And Ms. Lucid still wasn’t done wreaking havoc upon these students’ college and career readiness, folks. After encouraging her students to ask questions about the tests being given to them—the very tests which will help determine her excellence as a teacher, not to mention whether or not these kids are headed to college debt or [I WOULD INSERT ANOTHER OPTION HERE BUT THERE ISN’T ONE]—Ms. Lucid went on to let these students know that they didn’t really have to take the tests. She even handed them a piece of paper that their parents could sign, which would mean they would no longer have any data next to their name in the school district’s vast new systemized data efficiency rubric tool. This is alarming.
In a swift show zero tolerance for this kind of non-teaching to the test and failure to instill college and career readiness, the school district responded by immediately outlawing paper of any sort. According to an email sent from the district’s Office of Achievement Enhancement and Monitoring: “Paper will no longer be used in any of our schools, in the event that another teacher might try to convince his or her students’ families to refuse the tests by signing a piece of paper. It is our job to protect our students’ hope for a money-filled future by having them spend hours trying to think like test company employees. We will not back down from our duties one bit.”
Ms. Lucid is said to be busy dodging angry mobs at this moment. She stands accused of failure—to believe in the potentially excellent test-taking skills of all of her students, and to administer the test prep the students thought they had coming.
Sarah Lahm once worked as an English teacher and is now busy building a career as a corporate education reform crime fighter. She also has a bunch of kids who attend public schools in Minneapolis. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @sarahrlahm.
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