Monday, April 21, 2008

Emphasizing State Testing A Bit Too Much

Long-time readers of RotLC will know that I'm a big fan of standardized testing. I hate giving the tests, but I recognize their importance and value. That being said, though, state testing isn't the end-all, be-all in K-12 education. Some things are more important--things like student health. So what the heck were these officials thinking?

About 300 Galena Park High School students and staff members will be tested for tuberculosis as a precaution after a student tested positive for the disease earlier this month...

The test date was chosen because health officials didn't want to interfere with upcoming TAKS testing and wanted to give parents plenty of time to turn in consent forms, Eichhorn said. (boldface mine--Darren)

You've got to be kidding me. Get the darned kids in for a TB test.

On a related note, I heard on the radio this morning about a new strain of drug-resistant tuberculosis. We may have whipped TB here in the First World a few decades ago, but with plenty of people coming here from the (former) Second and Third World, we can't afford to rest on our laurels. Disease is freakin' serious business--let's take it seriously.

6 comments:

Ellen K said...

First of all, this has to do with TAKS-which is the GreatGrandDaddy of all standardized tests. Believe me, no stone shall go unturned in making every single kid in the state take these tests. In fact, a near panic ensued when it was discovered that an election had been scheduled for the original day of the TAKS Language Arts exam. Heaven forbid that anything should interfere. While my school has a tizzy about avoiding dreaded testing irregularities (which someone posted a funny response to in regards to typical Texas spring storms) some schools have gone totally bonkers in their control of the testing environment. We have to do seating charts. We are supposed to write the teacher location, which flies in the face of the "active monitoring" admonitions we have heard over and over and over. Mister Teacher wrote "I put a Big X over the entire seating chart. Was I not supposed to do that?" These are the levels to which we sink. And after the tests, most of the kinds simply turn off their minds because testing is what it's all about. You have no idea......

Darren said...

When exposure to a nasty communicable disease takes a back seat to a standardized test, you're darned right I don't understand!

I know you weren't justifying this situation by any stretch, but you must admit that to those of us on the outside, it seems more than a little excessive.

Anonymous said...

As someone who actually teaches in this school, we were "told" the health officials picked this date to test and it had nothing to do with TAKS testing. I find this hard to believe.As far I as I know noboby else has any symptons and luckily it wasn't the drug resistant form. All you need to know about Texas education is that TAKS results are as important as football and nothing more can be said.

Ellen K said...

Darren, our testing coordinator actually sent us a tongue in cheek list of instructions based on what the State of TAKSas expects us to do in case of storms. It's pretty funny and would be more so if it weren't so darned close to the truth. It on my blog.

Mr. W said...

sad to see testing have so much control. I think I would call in sick those days until the TB tests were given.

We had a tragedy before our tests HEREand luckily our administrators were smart enough to postpone for a week.

allen (from Michigan) said...

> When exposure to a nasty communicable disease takes a back seat...

Yet that's the safe course for an administrator to follow. I bit too much independence, depending on the school district of course, and you could easily find yourself unemployed. No, sticking mindlessly and rigidly to the rules is best.