Saturday, March 26, 2011

I hate ISAT

Middle school parent-teacher conferences... What can I say? I guess I'm just really glad I have my iPod Touch (I refuse to get a smart phone because I think I'd waste ALL of my time) and my new Audubon bird guide app. Lets just say that while waiting in three lines to see teachers, I looked up the ranges of a LOT of birds I may potentially see on our upcoming road trip. With middle school conferences you line up at the teachers' rooms and wait your turn. I just happened to be behind Mom of Special Needs Kid and Extremely Concerned Dad. I'm pretty sure I waited 40 minutes to spend 2 minutes with the science teacher. I REALLY wanted to talk to the science teacher because Kaylin's grade slipped and I needed to know why.

Miss Kaylin has been having an extremely hard time with school since the new year. She has possibly the worst case of spring fever EVER. Since returning from winter break, the teachers have all been focused on preparation for ISAT. I just realized I have no idea what that actually stands for, but I of course mean the state achivement tests that are now the most important thing about public school and the main focus of every teacher. ISAT preparation sucks. Rather than doing ANYTHING fun or educational, they drill, drill, drill. I'm not sure what a "written response" even is, but they practice them daily. They replaced art class with more writing time. ISAT preparation is boring and stupid and Kaylin needs much more from her educational experience. Her reading, science, social studies and effort grades all dropped. The three teachers I talked to insisted that Kaylin understands everything, her lower grades are the result of disorganization and not turning in homework assignments. Kaylin's test scores are great.

Yeah, public schools, your system is broken! TRAINING kids to do well on tests rather than teaching them new information? Boring drills that make them hate school? My kid went from fired up for learning to bored and lethargic and uninterested. My child's excellent test scores will nicely contribute to your school's overall ranking. Too bad you have to destroy my kid's love of learning to get what you want! Too bad it would be counterproductive to tell her to not read any of the questions, but to fill in the answer sheet circles in patterns of fairies or turtles. That would be a better learning experience than taking the actual tests!

Kaylin's grades are still excellent but her drive is gone. Her conscious effort to be more organized is gone. Her strong desire to obtain straight As is gone. The testing is over for the year. Right now science is disecting owl pellets. Kaylin's crazy-excited about finding over 50 bones in her pellet. She's also excited about a group social studies presentation with her friend LaShai. She has to dress up like Ben Franklin. I'm hoping these special projects will excite her enough to propel her to the end of the school year. THIS STUFF is what 5th grade should be about! It just makes me sick that an entire quarter of her school year was wasted on test preparation! I've said it before and I can't believe I'm saying it again- I wish I had what it takes to homeschool!

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