Several months ago, the North Carolina Department of Fearless Leading released this statement:
“We have officially run out of ways to make everyone feel that we are boldly pushing the envelope of public education, so from here on out we’re going to outsource our innovations to for-profit multi-national conglomerates. These people have long ago cornered the market in making people feel that paying for the privilege of passing some arbitrarily assembled collection of trivial pursuit questions adequately sums up your level of education. Best of all, we were able to get a deal on their services and it will only cost us 51 million dollars a year; this means that we will only have to lay off an additional 900 Future Generators to balance our new budget!
Of course this announcement was hailed as a great success by the people of North Carolina, though I suspect that it’s because lollipops were also handed out at the press conference. Today all of the junior students here at the Slum of Sapience are being required to take the ACT test. In an effort to get a sense of the real situation here, there are a few things about this test that I’d like to point out.
1. Several teachers were advised not to help coach the students on the upcoming test. Apparently we don’t want their scores to be too high or they won’t make astonishing growth the next time they take it and then what would we be able to take credit for?
2. Students must provide their own calculator. We are requiring them to take a test with math questions and have previously reworked our entire math curriculum around the use of calculators, so that now we can either force them to buy their own or watch them have panic attacks as they attempt to solve problems by hand for the first time since elementary school.
3. Students must provide valid forms of ID. These students, who have been positively identified by their teachers (or else they are marked absent from school that day) must also have on hand a valid form of picture ID which they must provide themselves. This is so amazing that I am literally at a loss for words.
4. The students taking the test are being pulled from their regular classes. It takes us 3 weeks to have final exams at this school because we are so concerned that students have enough time both during and between exams to perform at their best. Today however, it is cool that we pull students from class which will undoubtedly put them behind in their work, push every other student into a bizarre and barely tolerable schedule, and generally mess with everyone’s head.
You know that things are getting weird around here when you begin to think that visiting Alice in Wonderland would be a nice break from all this craziness.