Today, for the first time, I am participating in the Monday Mission. The mission, which I have obviously chosen to accept, is to create a post in the form of a voice mail message. Other Mission Operatives can be found at the Painted Maypole.
“Hello! You have reached the School District Currently Undergoing a Massive Identity Crisis. Sorry we can’t take your call at the moment, but leave us a detailed message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Assuming of course you agree with us totally and follow whatever we say blindly because we’re the trained professionals and you aren’t. Thanks, and have a great day!”
Ummm…Hi. This is Melissa, and I have two kids that are in your system. I just have a few questions. I’m not sure a phone message is the best way to do this, but I’ll give it a shot.
Why do you insist that you don’t teach to the test when you so obviously do? I know this because I have children who are taking the TAKS tests starting this week and I am amazed at what has been going on, and not going on, in the classroom. It appears that instead of developing a curriculum that would teach all the necessary concepts across the years, you know, building on knowledge, you’ve decided to cram.
I’m especially concerned with the Writing TAKS. No real writing instruction was given to the students until this year. Before this year, all emphasis was given to reading instruction, and the writing instruction has been dubious at best. Then when it was time to start writing instruction, it was a horse race. Instead of teaching the kids to construct a paragraph or an essay, more time is spent on “hooks” and “leads” and other things that should only be addressed once basic structure is mastered. The kids are then shown papers that received top marks and asked to mimic those. Is that really an effective method of teaching writing?
Since you have been spending all of your time on writing, everything else has fallen off. No science or social studies to speak of since January and the math teachers have cut back on their assignments as well. How is this supposed to be helping the kids? Seeing what the poor fifth graders are doing now with science, I can only assume that next year will be a massive cram year for science. How will this cramming show our kids that science is enjoyable and something worth pursing? Is this methodology good for the long run?
I guess this leads me to my final question: Do you really think that our kids are getting an education that is preparing them for life, or are they just passing tests to make you look good?
I hope I haven’t used up too much recording time. You can reach me at 968-273-5263*.
*Not a real number, but if you are interested in what the numbers say, pick up a phone and figure it out.