May 30, 2016

Word: Tests and trips

Becca Ritchie, Bad Ass Teachers Assn

I have been doing some thinking. I know May is always a long month. When I look back on things that we used to do in our building, the changes do pain my heart.. 1. Our 8th graders did a culture project, All of the tri fold boards were displayed in the gym for two days as SS classes came through and looked at them. 2. Field trips to the zoo, to museums, to other venues that expanded the student's horizons 3. Bike club ride to Vashon Island 4. Hiking club trip to Mt. Rainier 5. Band's garage sale out of the cafeteria 6. 5th graders visit to Nelsen to see a band orchestra and choir concert 7. Day of community service-6th graders did clean up on site, 7th and 8th graders went to various community places to work--stream clean ups, clothing and food banks, painting over graffiti...etc. 8. The entire school read the same book and then the drama department put on the play. 9. Spelling Bee 10. Knowledge Bowl 11. Math club competition 12. Mock Court with real judge presiding

So many other things i can't remember...but we didn't test until a week before school was out...and then it was the ITBS took maybe two days...and we were done.

Flash forward to now...we spent the entire month of May in a modified schedule. Students spent at least 13 hours of testing for the be followed by End of Course tests, STAR tests for math and SRI tests for reading. What are we doing to an entire generation of children? What are we doing to educators who on a daily basis someone in their hall is in tears. Whether is it dealing with trauma impacted children or teachers who are in distress (it is not stress...but distress) how is this shift OK?

Here is an idea... For every hour of required testing either by the state, district or building, the body requiring the test should provide for equal hours of field trips. Now that is a concept.