Monday, May 18, 2009

SOLs* = Stupid Over- Rated Lackluster Shit

How's that for a title, eh?

hee. [taking a cue from F$#% Cancer]

Seriously though, I hate these tests. For the uninatiated it is a standardized test given to every student, every other year, in every subject. And it sucks. The theory behind them is that if students are able to pass them then they will "know" all the pertinent information they need for their grade level and we will all have smarter kids! YAY!


The trick to these stupid tests is that they are merit based, in that, the schools have to meet a quota to receive federal funding - if they fail to "pass" XXX number of children their money is taken away. This turns it into a game of "Teaching for the test" wherein the teachers are forced to spend their time covering a litany of information provided by the gov't that is 1. too much information to cram into one year 2. stupid and 3. useless.

For example: My kids knew the capital of China before they knew the capital of Virginia while in the first grade.


Why am I bringing this up? Two reasons - First, I hate the tests and what it makes the teachers do. Second? The eldest, who has not missed a day of school all year, wanted to stay home this morning with me for a few hours to have coffee and hang out until Dad could take her in late. She never does this, but today she wanted to, but no....she couldn't. Because? She had a freaking SOL this morning. This child has already taken 3 AP exams - what the heck is she taking stupid SOLs for? So, instead of getting a few more minutes of hanging out with my daughter, watching Good Morning America and laughing with her favorite crush, Sam Champion, she had to traipse off to school to fill in the circles of yet another useless test.

Now, this brings me to another story I was reminiscing about this morning. This was the eldest's first grade year in school. Our son was in second grade. One day they came home from school and we noticed while helping them with their homework that each had a "special" folder. Daughter's was for reading assistance and our son's was for math. I asked them what was going on and they said they were tested and they failed so they were put in special classes to help make them better at their respective subjects.

Oh, no they didn't.

I promptly called the school and soon had the Principal on the phone. After this conversation I think this woman is STILL talking about me.

Me: Yes, Mrs. P. I understand you tested my children and placed each of them in a remedial course?

Mrs. P: Why yes we did. They need it.

Me: Well, it is my understanding that you cannot place a child in remedial ANYTHING without first talking to the parents, is this correct?

Mrs. P: Well, yes. But we hold the right to act accordingly in the best interest of the child and WE felt it was best that your children be placed in these classes.

Me: Remove them.

Mrs. P: We can't. They have been tested and are considered canidates for these classes.

Me: Remove them. NOW.

Mrs. P: We won't. They need this instruction.

Me: I am their parent and I don't think they do. Remove them now and place them back in their regular classrooms.

Mrs. P: No. Our ruling stands.

Me: I want them in the regular classes now and if you won't honor my wishes I will remove them from the public school system by tomorrow.

Mrs. P: If you do that Mrs. Pooldad we will be FORCED TO TAKE YOU TO COURT.



That is an honest to God true rendition of that phonecall. I was not kidding. I said it.

What this dumb woman didn't realize is [and some of you tadpoles do] is that I had been through the court system with the kids' father so many times I was on a first name basis with the Deputies that guarded the courthouse. [that is not a joke] Court didn't scare me and she was NOT going to intimidate me with her OMG! power. My kids. MINE. Back off and take your stupid tests with you.

The kids were removed from the remedial classes and placed back in the regular classes the next day.

Flash forward 5 years:

Daughter's elementary school graduation:

Mrs. P: Oh Mr. and Mrs. Pooldad you must be so proud of your daughter. She won so many awards this year [names them off]. She said this as if they were the ones worthy of every achievement the eldest had obtained.

Pooldad: Yes, we are incredibly proud. By the way aren't you the same administrator that threatened my wife with court if we didn't keep her in remedial reading in first grade?

Mrs. P: [looking straight at me] Um,

Pooldad: Glad it worked out for you. [We turned and walked away.]

Sigh. I hate the public school system sometimes.

*SOLs = Standards of Learning Tests


Anonymous said...

WE call them EOG, end of grade testing. I hate them too. Son has had a hard time with math this year. Sent him to Saturday school for extra help, got a letter today, he "did not achieve a passing grade" so he gets remediation for two weeks and than has to retake the test.

These twits didn't even bother to make sure the boy could multiply before they taught him algebra and geometry; he is in 4th grade. He says the teachers don't take the time to explain things to him when he gets confused. They told me "he is a bit behind but we are confident in his progress". My question is what progress?

Hating public schools in almost ever way

SkippyMom said...

Opal - they tried that with our youngest last year [5th grade] to have her take extra Monday evening classes for six weeks - I told them to f%^&& off [politely of course] but I told them I would be damned if my child was going to suffer through MORE school for THEIR purpose. Lose the funding, isn't my problem. Then again I have the luxury of homeschooling my kids [which I have] and some people don't.

But my kids don't have to pass their tests. I resent them. They are UNFAIR to SO many students and don't really count towards anything. Except MONEY. Not having it.

The teachers don't take the time to explain anything to your son because they don't have the time they are too busy trying to complete a timeline set forth by the school system and your poor son [and my daughter] are left behind because there isn't "TIME" to count that one student in.

LOOK! I wrote a whole other post...giggle...thanks for visiting and if you need any help, let me know, 'kay? :)

Yvo Sin said...

I forget what they were called in my day and state (it changed halfway through, too)... but I went to Catholic school so I'm not sure if we got funding for high scores. I always scored in the 99th percentile, but I have a natural aptitude for standardized tests (which doesn't mean I'm smart, it just means I test very well). Our teachers had a different curriculum anyway because they had to make room for religion class while still making sure we were dismissed 30 minutes earlier than public school... lol.

Your statement about your kids knowing the capital of China gives me great pause, however. It reminds me of when I was in high school and volunteered at a nearby elementary school that was purported to be one of the best in Manhattan and utilized 'new math' (I still don't know what that means) and I have no idea why, but I mentioned Korea or Japan once and the children didn't know what that was. I was like, um, it's a country... in Asia... and the only country in Asia they'd ever heard of was China. I was shocked. I mean, part of me thought "Maybe I just know the other Asian countries cuz I'm Asian" but I think kids should have a good awareness of major countries around the world - maybe not the teeny tiny ones that no one talks about, but hello? No wonder those kids call all Asian people "Chinese" (maybe that's what I was correcting them on). There were even Asian children in the class! It really blew my mind.

Also, I don't recall taking tests where I had to know the capital of another country. Hmmm but it has been 20 years... lol.

I had to laugh at your conversation though, YOU GO SKIPPY!!! WTF. Put MY kids in remedial classes? I'd flip the hell out. I could go on and on and write my own post in your comments about my experiences with people thinking I needed ESL but... I won't :)

SkippyMom said...

Yvo-the ESL and China comments break my heart. I don't know if it is because I am the way I am or because I know you. It is just wrong.

In defense of the China part of my post they did include all of Asia in the capitals - my kids just seemed to be enthralled with the country of China [perhaps the emphasized that, who knows]. I applaud them for their effort, but my point was um, what is the freaking capital of VA? Y'know the state you were born in? LOL

Rudee said...

Yes-and when you want remedial classes or services, you have to fight like an animal to get them. I hate public schools too-the perfect example of socialism. And people are worried about socialized medicine and banks? We've had socialized education for eons.

Gail said...

I read your other post first and thought the cursing was because your weekend was messed up.

NOW, I see.

I agree 100%