Yesterday, my 9-year-old took the math portion of the MCAS test. We are supposed to help her prepare for this test. And I know I should be more of a proponent of this standardized testing system. But I’m not (and this page best summarizes why).
I know the rubric that dictates how schools receive their funding. I know how important it is to keep our scores high, to keep our good teachers, to justify our expenses by showing THE DATA — that our kids are acquiring knowledge and education in this public school system. And because we live in a state and a town where the schools are good and highly rated (because, in part, of those high MCAS scores), our neighborhoods are desirable, our home values are high, and our tax revenue goes toward maintaining and improving those schools and all those good things that keep our neighborhoods safe and tidy and such.
*sigh* I know all this. I’m trying to be supportive. Really. But I fucking hate your tests.
I hate that my kid comes home feeling disappointed because she doesn’t have the math facts drilled into her head enough to enjoy total perfect recall of every damn math fact.
I hate that she is filling in those stupid fucking ovals with her #2 pencil already. And that her teacher has to spend class time toward teaching for the test. I wish the MCAS would die a very painful death. A Ticonderoga stab to the gut.
There is already so much to dislike about the way public schools are run. I know it’s for the good of the majority. And I know I’m a crazy hippie, but I want my child to be playing on the playground for longer periods of time. I want her to have an entire hour–not the 15 minutes she is given–to eat lunch with her peers, so that she can make friends. I wish there were more music and art, more time for child-led reading, free time to explore or invent as her creative brain demands. I could go on.
I support public schooling in many ways, but mostly because it’s economically the best choice for our family. I know that if I had a spare $40k or so I could spend per year on education, I would be sending my kids to Friends School in Cambridge. Or, for about half that, I would send my kids to Sudbury Valley for un-schooling. In a heartbeat. I talk a big game about supporting public education in the US. But I’m secretly wanting better for my own kids.
So, here I am, feeling like such a hypocrite with my shiny smile and cheery “I hope you do GREAT on your MCAS today, sweetie” chant. Rah rah rah. When I don’t care for the way we run this imperfect system of accountability and academic success measurement.
And this isn’t intended to imply that her teachers aren’t completely awesome. They are. I just wish they had the reins. You know. To do their job and teach what is interesting and fascinating, to their hearts’ content. I don’t care for the system. But I love the school. And I respect and admire the teachers.
Kelsey comes away from school lately as if a swarm of zombies were chasing her out the door, gnawing on her sun-starved limbs. She runs out the door, a frowning thing, into my arms. Wanting to go home. Or to play. To do anything that is NOT school. School shouldn’t be a bad word. Lately, it is an expletive. Fucking MCAS.