Today I was mandated to participate in an hour and 15 minute “training session” designed to teach me how to administer the 25 hours worth of state tests next week I’ll be proctoring.
Mind you, I have been through this training many, many times in years past, but still, if I don’t get my name on the little “sign in sheet” and sit through a bore-me-to-tears power point presentation by a person who has already done 5 of these prior to my arrival (you can just tell she is juiced to do it again — actually, she is, because I am in the last group of the day and if you think I am watching the clock waiting for the dreariness to end, you should see the non-verbal clues being given off by the person leading this charge into the land of nonsense — she is dying to go home already) there will be bureaucratic hell to pay.
I want to be fair to the training session though. There were 4 minutes of total value embedded into the presentation. I learned the schedule for the week. I learned about the statistical value of breakfast before a big exam. (Apparently, there’s data on eggs.) I learned that Paris Hilton might be launching a new line of mascara. (Okay, sometimes we drift off topic.)
I also was informed that seniors, since they do not take these state tests, do not have to come to school. Yep, all seniors pretty much get the week off but teachers are supposed to have given them “assignments”. However, if we let them on campus during state testing we risk turning the quad into a social hour for hundreds of kids so the policy is, let’s just give them some take-home work and have them enrich their minds from home.
As I am sure you can imagine, the seniors really hate this. I can just see them now, a bowl of Fruit Loops in their hand, Judge Judy on the TV, and milk dripping down their chin repeating to themselves our educational mantra, “Must become a critical thinker. Must become a critical thinker.”
State tests have some benefits, though. For example, they are good for the economy (because when I see the truckload of materials that got hauled into our campus, I know someone is getting paid — and paid quite well — for this extravaganza). They are good for property values on the right side of the track (because real estate agents can tout those high API scores.) And they are good for the Christmas tree industry (because even though it’s only May, lots and lots of teens across the state are not only thinking about Christmas trees, they are applying their design to the test’s answer sheet).
I wonder which is more squandered this time of year, our funds or our time?