Thursday, October 08, 2015

How Much Money Was Spent On The Exit Exam?

Which California governor signed into law the creation of the High School Exit Exam?  Of which political party was that governor a member?

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.)


Ellen K said...

I hear educrats wringing their hands in dismay that American kids aren't beating kids from just about every other country in the world. Methodology of testing aside, this is not a problem of educating kids, but of not doing so with rigor and demanding excellence. Americans were aghast at the techniques of the self-proclaimed "tiger mom", but in a way she is right. We have gone so far in propping up kids' self esteem that they think every product they make is golden.

While in a parent meeting with an AP student who was not doing quality work, I expressed the opinion that in art-as in life-the more skills you bring to the table, the more employable you will be. This particular student only wanted to make cartoons. The student is capable of a high standard of work, but somehow has gotten the message that the only work that needs to be produced is this limited style of art. When I said that I had worked as a graphic designer, copywriter and art director and that sometimes you have to take on jobs you may not like the student's response was "Well as an artist I can turn down those jobs can't I?" When I reiterated that sometimes in order to move up, you have to take on jobs outside your comfort zone and that it was called "paying one's dues" her mother chimed in "Well that's the way you were raised. We've raised our children that they can do and be anything they want to be." I guess the parents should be happy their student didn't want to design steam locomotives or possibly venture into designing a new type of buttonhook for shoes.

I wish I was exaggerating, but this is the mentality of parents and as a result, schools capitulate any control. The answer to any request is always yes. UNLESS-you are a student who doesn't fit into one of the desirable categories for promotion. I guarantee you that children in China are not learning to multiply looking at a calculator. I promise you that children in Japan are not learning to write by just printing because "cursive (or formal Japanese calligraphy) is too hard." I will tell you that they use old methods that may not have the lyricism of common core but which work because sometimes rote memorization, repetition and hard work is not just required, it is important. Being born is a struggle that is necessary for the baby to become a breathing human-and that struggle never ends. Why are Americans continuing to support education methods that not only value social agenda over education, but that actively handicap our children? If this seems to be a rant, so be it. Frankly after today I am thinking of getting out of education altogether.

Darren said...

We're a society in decline. Nothing matters except our own comfort.

Joanne Jacobs said...

Parents who think their children will not have to learn skills they don't find interesting or "pay their dues" to rise in their career are (a) idiots and (b) doomed to support their kids forever.

Darren said...

Wow, Joanne, I don't think I've ever seen you be so blunt!

Peggy Uppiano said...

From an American teaching in Great Britain:

Darren said...

I didn't know Math With Bad Drawings was from an American in Britain! Love that site!