Can kids believe anything we teachers tell them? "This is important", we said. "This counts", we said:
Another bill earning Brown’s signature continues California’s move away from the exit exam high school seniors have been required to pass in order to graduate. Senate Bill 172 suspends the exam for the next three academic years and, because it is retroactive to 2004, allows students who met all other graduation requirements to get their diplomas. Earlier this year Brown signed legislation granting a reprieve to students after a planned test date was canceled.The pendulum has swung back to "nothing matters, it's all good as long as you try" 1990s. How many millions were spent creating the exit exam, training us on its use, actually giving the exam for all those years, grading that exam, and reporting its results?
Update, 10/10/15: Here's what one of our teachers had to say in an email to our staff, and he gave me permission to post it here:
I just wondering how much money was spent on purchasing CAHSEE tests, paying teachers at every public high school in the state to proctor the exam, and then creating under-enrolled recovery classes for kids who couldn't do 8th grade math or write a semi-coherent paragraph. Well here's the bang we got for those bucks: As of this morning, the CAHSEE is retroactively cancelled for everybody who took it since 2004. The governor has signed a bill that grants a diploma to anybody ever who completed all graduation requirements except passing the test. Turns out that because we no longer use the test, it would not be unfair to somebody who finished high school 11 years ago if they wanted to give it one more try (on top of the half dozen or more tries they had in high school). Seems to me that kids who dropped out because they figured they would never pass the test should also get a diploma, but apparently you got to draw the line somewhere. Well, give 'em all diplomas and trophies, too, and I'm all right with it. But I hope that our esteemed education leaders forgive us lowly classroom teachers if we don't get excited about the next big thing that is going to really make a difference this time, or if we suspect that every new standard, test and training is just one more way to channel public education dollars into the pockets of private corporations. And as long as the state is so good at throwing away money, could they at least buy us straight-face masks to wear when we tell our students to try hard on Smarter Balanced test, because it really matters kids.
(Thank you. I am finished now. I feel better.)