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POV: Public schools are under pressure

Test integrity is serious business, as evidenced by the newly formed Test Security Unit. A mere $2.1 million increase in state funding will get this new agency off the ground so they can take care of all those demons that compromise test results. Believe it or not, one duty of the TSU is to analyze erasures! Come on, if we don’t laugh, we will cry!

So where does that leave you as you prepare to send your child back to school this September? Get involved, attend PTA and school board meetings, speak up and ask lots of questions. Scream if you have to, but make sure you are heard!

Meanwhile on the home front, keep a positive attitude that is contagious and marked with a sense of humor. Give your child an encouraging pep talk at the start of school each morning. Make the message simple and consistent: “You are fine. I know you will always do your best. I am proud of you. And if something goes wrong at school, unless the sky is falling, hang in there and work it out. I have confidence in you. I promise when you get home we will make time to sit eye to eye and knee to knee to talk about your day. I love you.”

If you have questions related to this article, please email them to kitchentabletime@gmail.com.

Felicia Bordick and her colleagues, Carol Smith and Joyce Thomas, are authors of “Kitchen Table Time: Recipes for School Success.” Please feel free to contact Felicia Bordick with comments, questions, or suggestions at kitchentabletime@gmail.com.

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shanoid 2 years, 1 month ago

This article brings up some VERY important points about the condition of public education in this country. Teachers' unions, of course, have been verbally protesting this move towards robotization of our country's children, but their protests are summarily pooh-poohed by the media as being the whines of spoiled teachers who only care about their summer vacations. Call it a monopoly, a trust, a cartel - what we have here is a very real case of industry (e.g. Pearson Inc.) being in bed with government officials (from state houses to state education departments and beyond) and doing what is best for their bottom lines and/or re-election campaigns. At the same time that more and more valuable school programs are being cut and school personnel being laid off due to severe budget constraints, taxpayers are footing the bill for latest new textbook series with all the bells and whistles, "benchmarking" software, and the mandated high-stakes exams themselves to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars per school district - all to "be in compliance" with newly adopted state and federal laws that mandate testing our children to death. Oh, and, yes, all of the above are produced/published by PEARSON. Perhaps Pearson will have cleaned up its act by the time the deluge of spring 2013 tests begin. I hope so, because for every year I have been administering various high-stakes tests to public school children, I have found egregious errors on nearly every exam - from minor grammar mistakes to gross logical fallacies. These tests do NOT measure what is really important in the education and growth of a child. Parents need to educate themselves about the efficacy of the whole examination processes and then start making some noise. Teachers, apparently, do not make up an important enough percentage of the electorate to affect any meaningful change in the right direction. But parents do!

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