Test Shrieks

Texas has TAAS power hours. Kids are given special pencils that will help them pass the test. They are given snacks during the test to encourage them or else these snacks are used to communicate correct answers. Red and green M&M's are used: green means the answer is correct, red means it wrong. If kids pass TAAS they are frequently rewarded with a school trip or T-shirts are passed out that indicate that you have passed TAAS. Freebies at restaurants (Pizza Hut, MacD's, etc.) are given out to those students who pass TAAS. One year one school I know passed out watches (they were donated) to all students whopassed TAAS.

...the horrible part is that none of us can even talk about what we've done or haven't done to prepare for a test that none of us is allowed to discuss without being sued and fired. They spend tens of millions of dollars adopting a test that doesn't even match our standards, and then tell us that we'll be involuntarily transferred or fired if our kids don't succeed on the test. If we prepare we're fired for certain, and if we don't prepare we're threatened with a host of disciplinary actions. I can barely look at myself in the mirror. Every night I go home and hear about how teachers are the cause of society's ills, and I wonder how much longer I can take it. They're driving good, dedicated people out of the profession. Has it always been this bad? 

My mother works for a school outside of *******, where she is the elementary special ed. teacher. She has a master degree and about 20 yrs experience. She was recently asked to resign because she was mainstreaming too many of her special ed kids. Her principal was very upset to ask her to resign and told her it was political. Basically the principal said that the teachers were complaining about my mom mainstreaming these kids right before TAAS and that it would affect the over all scores for TAAS. They were also upset because it was going to decrease the amount of money given to the school for the number of ED and LD children at that school. Not only did my mother go ahead and resign, but so did the principal and one of the Region special ed directors. It seems that the function of School districts is to make money and not teach kids.

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