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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

To Test Or Not To Test

Carl Chew - 6th grade Seattle Public School teacher refuses to give the state mandated WASL test.

He's a bad guy
He's a good guy

I've known about this for a few days, and wanted to do some reflecting.  Some say it is what is needed, others say he took the wrong approach.  I say, at least someone did something...anything...and was willing to make a statement heard 'round the country.

Chew has at least a few people talking about the issue of testing, and how it proves nothing of what a child knows.  I don't care if my mechanic passed the Jeopardy-like quiz game we play in schools under the misnomer of No Child Left Behind, but I do appreciate the fact that he knows what to do to my engine and tires to give me better mileage; especially since the ones who probably did guess correctly are now running the companies and countries that are screwing the world to the wall with petroleum price gouging.  </rant>

I think I respect Chew's actions.  He stated the reasons he refused to administer the test.  I can't say I disagree with him. Could I question his actions?  Sure.  I would rather see parents and students boycott testing week...simply refuse, en masse, to attend school on test days.  If the state wanted to reschedule, then boycott again.  That, my friends, would work in one year.  Politicians would "hear" that message.

But no one listens to teachers...no one.

Mr. Chew's action has probably done more to educate his students, and students in his district, than anything on the WASL.  So perhaps the WASL did have some educational benefits after all...it allowed someone to teach about standing up for personal beliefs, standing against national injustices, and being a leader in a cause (even if some disagree with his views).  Talking to politicians, as Mr. Jamieson suggests Chew should have done, doesn't work.  They don't listen; they legislate, and justify later.  Wait and see. 

With Gary Stager as my muse, I predict after the 2010 election changes will be made to NCLB (perhaps even the name).  Reading First doesn't work, duh.  NCLB doesn't work, and this in from the irony pages, NCLB leaves many children behind because they are not academically talented.  But in the future, I will listen to their music, entrust my car to them to get better mileage, and watch them win the Super Bowl.  Hmmm.  They all get paid more than me, and I did well on my tests.  Who are the real dummies in all this?

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