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(Florida Today)   Teacher busted for helping students cheat on state comprehensive exam; blames it on pressure imposed by state for kids to do well on test. Actual teaching of material apparently not considered helpful in this endeavor   ( divider line
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125 clicks; posted to Main » on 25 Mar 2003 at 4:53 PM (14 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2003-03-25 06:02:24 PM  
These tests are actually pretty tough, though. Not that they're too hard for kids, but with our culture's disdain for education, it gets harder. Hell, our governor (in Colorado) failed the state-mandated test for 7th graders.
2003-03-25 06:09:46 PM  
MetaPhyzix That's too funny, the governer failed! Do you have a reference? I'd like to see that article.

When Kentucky came out with KERA, there is a major element on writing skills. A student has to have a portfolio of different writings that he/she has written. The papers are graded on four proficiency levels. This sounds like a good idea, but lacks emphasis on mathematical skills. (I also hated it because my style of writing papers is more technical and less creative.)

Of course, there are the tests. Every time my class heard of a state mandated test, we'd all say we'd fail on purpose. Though, I don't think anyone followed through with it. (Having been in the class KERA was first introduced to, most of us were determined to do poorly, because we knew the kids behind us would have to do better than us. In essence, we decided to set the bar low for rest, heh.)
2003-03-25 06:16:48 PM  
BBCToby: Over half of our time in English class here in Florida, at least for sophomores like me, is spent wasting time on "FCAT strategies."

And to think you could be broadening your horizons and learning something by analyzing poetry, drama, short stories, or novels instead.
2003-03-25 06:19:51 PM  
The company I work for writes a student information software system. Before we can start selling to a certain state, we have to implement all of the state reporting needs for that state.

Florida's state reporting system has two manuals, one of which is 800 pages. I don't remember how long the other one was. I mostly slept through the meetings.

Needless to say, we haven't started selling in Florida.
2003-03-25 06:25:41 PM  
There's the LEAP test in Louisiana-- but it is a disturbing percentage of the teachers who are taking the easy way out(by teaching the test) who have given up on pounding their heads against a wall of minamally parented kids because they just get kicked in the teeth for it by same parents.
2003-03-25 06:34:05 PM  
That headline sucked my ass.

Teachers are put under ridiculous, inordinate pressure to have their students perform on standardized tests. I am sad this poor woman is in trouble.
2003-03-25 06:35:17 PM  
This isn't just a problem in Florida, this is a problem in most other states as well. In Indiana, we have the good ol' ISTEP test, which has reduced most of my classes to frantic cramming everything in that could possibly be on the test.

Despite all this preparation, half of my class will fail. Well, if they even make it that far. Already 50 of the freshmen have failed English 9, out of a class of about 120.

2003-03-25 06:36:44 PM  
ugh ive recently become torn to become a teacher since all of my old highschool ones (well mostly) were inflators even though they tried to make it look like they weren't...but gawd, id make money..course i keep thinking i need to try to help...maybe i'll give them a grant when i get rich...back to doctor it is...who knows. ugh..this is hard, i wanna do everything lol..""astronaut doctor teacher who flies f-18s for the navy" thats me.
2003-03-25 06:37:31 PM  
i didn't seem to actually say that i wanted to farking try and fix it.
2003-03-25 06:38:14 PM  
hmm i guess president would work on that case...hey guys i heard drinking 405 is hard, but a prereq for a president degree...anyone have any info?
2003-03-25 06:38:49 PM  
wow, im an idiot.
2003-03-25 06:39:25 PM  
if anyone has any mercy, please delete my posts from this thread.
2003-03-25 06:40:03 PM  
an email: (sorry about the length)


Legislation won't make children learn

By David Finley
My Turn
Dec. 10, 2002

Educators know the truth but are afraid to say it: All children cannot
I am an educator, and in my profession it is a mortal sin to say that all children cannot learn. Now that I have said it publicly, I will probably lose my job and be excommunicated from my profession. At the very least I
am certain it will give Arizona's state superintendent of public instruction a bad case of heartburn.

Perhaps I can redeem myself by rephrasing the statement: All children can learn but all children cannot learn as much as all other children. And all
children cannot learn to some preset state or federal standard, as is currently mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act and Arizona Learns legislation.

I am principal of a school the state has labeled "underperforming." Does this embarrass me? Not in the least. The label is a misnomer. Schools are simply brick and mortar. They do not perform, over or under. The label really means that the school's instructional staff is underperforming. Since I know that the teachers at my school are effective, dedicated professionals who are actually "overperforming," I am not the least bit
embarrassed by being mislabeled as a result of this ridiculous legislation.

Color me defensive if you must, but I believe labeling schools is nothing more than name-calling, something most of us learned not to do in kindergarten. Labeling schools will not improve them and actually runs counter to the intended purpose.

The goal of the law is admirable and sounds great to voters. Schools will be held accountable to ensure that all children learn and succeed; the achievement gap between poor and rich kids will magically disappear; and
no child will be left behind. The only phrase missing is that everyone will live happily ever after.

Like the emperor in the classic fairy tale, the No Child Left Behind Act has no clothes, but no one is saying so. The punitive nature of the legislation is forcing teachers to teach to a test instead of teaching children; consequently, there may be a superficial rise in test scores. However, for solving the problem of low achievement by at-risk children, it is tantamount to putting a Band-Aid on a headache.

Saying that "all" children must achieve to a predetermined standard on a test is like saying that all children in physical education classes must run a six-minute mile on a physical fitness exam. And saying that all children must show one year's academic growth for one year in school is
like saying that all children in the school lunch program must gain 10 pounds and grow 2 inches in one year.

Children are not created equal in athletic ability or physical characteristics. Neither are they created equal in their ability to learn. Any first-year teacher knows this; apparently politicians do not. They have created a law that is focused on fixing the schools and just possibly ,the schools aren't broken.

I am not saying the schools are perfect or that we cannot improve. And I firmly believe that the education profession must be held accountable for what it does. But this is true of every profession, including law and medicine.

The professional educator, however, seems to be at the bottom of the food chain. Unlike any other profession, we are constantly asked to do more with less. And politicians, who say things that are politically expedient but not educationally realistic, relentlessly criticize us. Doctors and lawyers are never subject to such political philandering and shortsighted legislation.

Doctors are not required by law to cure all their patients. It is acknowledged that there are circumstances with each patient that are unique. Some patients will not follow their doctor's instructions; some simply have illnesses that cannot be cured.

Lawyers are not required by law to win all their cases. It is recognized that every client has a unique set of circumstances that will directly affect their attorney's ability to bring them success in court.

Teachers, on the other hand, do not fare so well with lawmakers. The law ignores the fact that schools in the low-income areas serving predominantly at-risk children have much higher percentages of children with special "medical problems and legal circumstances." Under the threat
of a "failing label" teachers must cure every child irrespective of his or her illness; win every case in the courthouse of the classroom no matter the legal circumstance of the child.

In the Emperor's New Clothes, it takes a small child to tell the truth and bring the adults to their senses. Maybe our legislators need to come into the "underperforming" schools. They might learn some things they did not
know before. Perhaps this would bring about some responsible legislation aimed at solving some of our problems instead of creating new ones, such as an exodus of quality teachers from the at-risk schools, where they are
needed most.

Fairy tales usually have a happy ending, but I fear not with this one.

David Finley is the principal of Webster Elementary School in Mesa. He has
been an educator for 32 years.


/long and boring
/hating bush
2003-03-25 06:40:59 PM  
NO - not that kind of bush... I LOVE that kind!

back to normal
2003-03-25 06:46:46 PM  
Back in the days when I was at Uni on of my professors gave our very small class of about 20 two options when it came to our exam. He said that we could come in and do the exam like normal. Or he could give us all an exact copy of the exam questions so we could review them before the exam but he would mark the exam to a higher standard.

The crazy thing was I had this guy for several classes and he always gave his students this option.

Needless to say everyone always chose the 'show me the test' option.
2003-03-25 06:50:10 PM  
It's funny how people used to be smart and education has been falling off... SINCE THE RENAISSANCE!!!! If kids want to learn then let them learn, if they don't want to then don't make them. Like in Ancient Greece or some time when people cared about learning, there was usually one teacher to one student, or a small group of students learning from a master. And hell, students used to learn from experience from their masters. That's the only real way to learn because once you're "smart" you're not going to be studying even more books that are harder to understand than the basics (well, that's true to a certain degree), you're hopefully going to be writing books of your own. People just want to make money, they don't want to actually do anything for other people.

That leads me to another idea I have. Remember how graduating high school and moving on to a four-year or two-year school used to be what separated people economically and eventually socially? Well, nowadays it's the people who go on to grad school that really separate themselves from others in terms of economic and social standing. Anyone can graduate high school because it's much easier now, not because people are smarter. Most people can even get through four years of college and make a living with their education. That still doesn't mean people are smarter. When more than half of all people who go to four-year schools graduate and move on to grad school I'll say that people are getting smarter, on average. (I don't know if that's happening already, I'll concede that I might be an idiot). I just think that people go to school only so they can get a high paying job instead of trying to make the world better. Of course, some of the jobs they get they don't really need to go to school for, they could just intern or whatever and move up that way and learn as much on the job as they could in a classroom. It's much easier to learn by applying what you learn as you learn it. But, that's just me. Colleges like students' money.

And another thing that bothers me. It seems that there's an awful lot of colleges that only cater to educating people to get the highest paying jobs. Like my college, U@B (yes that's right, the infamous Sorority/Fraternity Life school that MTV™ whored out) doesn't even have an astrophysicist on the grad or undergrad staff. All they want, according to my conspiracy/why education means jack shiat theory, is to get people out of here as soon as possible with a four-year degree in some high-paying field so that the student (who will be a future alumnus) will have enough money to spare donating a chunk of it back in later years. I think that's probably a good assumption, seeing as how students at RIT for example can get a part-time job calling alumni for donations. They obviously know they set their students up to have cash to donate. Ok, I'm done.

2003-03-25 07:02:01 PM  
Perfect example of the liberal teachers unions and the teachers it produces. These idiotic standardized tests are so frickin important to education departments that it has become all teachers teach anymore! By the time an American student graduates high school, all they know how to do is keep from using politically incorrect euphemisms and fill in an oval with a number 2 pencil. Bah!!!
2003-03-25 07:03:12 PM  
Hell, my high school made each class use the first half hour for nothing but TAAS stuff every day for six months.

Why? Funding. Scores. Make the school look good.

I ignored it all, and got yelled at by my principal for it. I also scored a 99 on the test.

He interrupted AP classes to teach basic fractions. Our school had a record low humber of AP test passings that year, but that doesn't decide funding, so screw that!

Luckily, a bunch of our great teachers stood up to him, and had him removed after that year.
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2003-03-25 07:08:41 PM  
Teachers' unions want more money and no accountability. In Massachusetts they have contributed millions of dollars to support higher taxes. They are still unhappy that towns are no longer obligated to give them anything they ask for. It used to be, the town had to raise taxes to give the school committee anything it asked for. The people had no rights. Now the school wants to raise taxes, they have to get the people to vote ont he tax increases.

The stupid thing about our system, MCAS, is the attempt to please both sides. Supposedly the test is required for graduation. In reality it's different. Fail the test? You get to take it again. Fail it again? Third chance. Again? We'll give you an easier test. But the fifth try is the last. You don't get to take it again. But you can try to convice the state education board that you ought to graduate anyway. Is it mandatory or not? Make up your mind.

(Newspapers and anti-MCAS forces published excerpts from the test. They totally failed in their attempt to persuade me that it was unreasonable. I got most of the European history questions right even though I never studied the subject.)

I hear the SATs have become strategy-oriented instead of knowledge or reasoning-oriented in the past 10-15 years. Have standardized tests changed, or have people broken the system?
2003-03-25 07:09:03 PM  
Longest. Farkline. Ever.
And every phrase in it is true. Many teachers have been told they will be fired if their kids don't pass the test. It's true, I talk to them daily. Some of them have no other job skills and are scared to death. Hell of an incentive, hell of a situation to put kids in, too. The "idiotic standardized tests" are the product of George Dubyuh Bush, not teacher colleges. Not that I am defending teacher colleges, most of what they put prospective teacher thru is pure horseshiat. Teacher colleges have a stranglehold on the profession, which is a damn shame. Any good ideas what to do about that?
2003-03-25 07:14:30 PM  
I know teachers who refuse to show up on the testing days. The push towards worthless tests to get government grants is counter-productive. It only encourages schools to cheat for money and spend time teaching kids a test rather than subject matter.
2003-03-25 07:15:00 PM  
reading all these posts has been music. I am a substitute teacher, and in my school it is not only difficult because of the obvious reasons mentioned above, but 90% of the students are from foreign families who have different languages and different cultures. That being, some students have fierce difficulties allowing a female teacher lead the class, because in their native culture females have no voice. This is extremely frustrating, and it is only in elementary school. Teaching is so difficult in my state because my governor blew all the money in his last term and now we have nothing to go the first thing that's cut is education. This is because it is well known that although in other fields employees will not work for less money and will strike or quit, teachers will continue to work, regardless. So we're an easy target. And these tests are ludicrus. I know many students when I went to HS that intentionally flunked the tests because they were punks.

/end frustration
2003-03-25 07:20:20 PM  
I guess it is true what they say, "Those who can do, those who can't biatch about their job and help their students cheat."
2003-03-25 07:20:27 PM  
Guy with two teachers in the family here.

Without even reading the article, I know how he feels.

Thanks to the national craze on "testing", including "no child left behind", expect to see more cases of this.

Whoever wrote the headline: check your sarcasm generator, it seems to be on the blink and letting truth through. Because the test is the only way that teachers are rated nowdays, teaching how to beat the test IS the only thing that is focussed on quite a bit of the time.
2003-03-25 07:32:10 PM  
As a senior in a Florida HS, I can assure you all that living under the rule of the FCAT is nothing but hell. Everything you learn from Aug-January is only in preparation for the FCAT. There was a lot of drama over the test the year I took it because a lot of students wouldn't know what the passing 'grade' was until the middle of their junior year (you take the test as a sophomore). And there was even more drama last year when a lot of the 4th graders who took the test failed it.

Way to go Jeb.
2003-03-25 07:41:13 PM  
I'm so glad our asshat President is pushing for more standardized testing. Look what it did for Texas!
2003-03-25 07:41:42 PM  
OK, Let me see...
We can't use standardized tests, because they're "not fair". The "underprivileged" don't have as good access to educational resources as do the "privileged"...

Sorry, EVERYONE HAS A CROSS TO BEAR. If you don't think you have good enough access to educational resources, GO OUT AND GET IT. You may have to actually SEARCH for it. Nothing that's worth having is actually free. We need SOME kind of standard by which to judge the abhorrent amount of money spent on education in this country, I'm all for difficult standardized tests. Difficult tests will raise the bar on the worth of a high school education.

Make them harder. Let people fail. Without the opportunity to fail you don't have an opportunity for sucess.
2003-03-25 07:55:38 PM  
Here in New Jersey, 4th graders have to take the ESPA. This is SUPPOSED to assess their skills as they prepare for the grade 8 GEPA test. Naturally, the GEPA test is meant to act as a warning for students who may have trouble with the grade 11 HSPA test ("madatory" for graduation).

Basically, this test ends up gauging how well students can TAKE STANDARDIZED TEST. The only positive is that there are three writing components, so it's not all "bubble in" sections.

My kids have the whole "testing" thing in their heads throughout each school year.
2003-03-25 08:03:27 PM  
2003-03-25 08:11:14 PM  
[image from too old to be available]
2003-03-25 08:25:57 PM  
My kids are "priviledged," and the tests are shiat. I've got a second grader who will be taking the tests for his level next week: IT IS A COMPLETE JOKE. This isn't education: the teachers are killing themselves to jam all the kids into the same little boxes.

The conservative MANIA for testing is the most idiotic thing since Ebonics: when you've actually seen a teacher chuck everything out the window and teach to the test to keep the school district solvent, you'll have a glimpse of how EVERY child is being left behind...we're gonna end up with a nation of dips, like our belived Shrub.
2003-03-25 08:27:27 PM  
HA! Americans are stupid. Americans designate a problem and kill their problem. Americans will soon begin killing themselves and one another more often. YAY
2003-03-25 08:35:32 PM  
In New York they have the statewide "regents exam". You dont need to pass them to graduate, you can get a local diploma from the school system you attended. The catch is you can't get into any sate colleges with a local diploma. So basically, if you want to pursue a career that doesn't involve a deep fryer and a stylish visor, you have to get a regents diploma.
2003-03-25 08:46:24 PM  
Never seen a thread with longer posts, it seems like this could be fixed easily enough.
2003-03-25 09:22:57 PM  
Up in Jersey, in 8th grade we had to take the EWT (Early Warning Test). Like, every single day had a portion set aside to go to a computer lab and do programs based on sections of the test. It was and remains to this day the easiest test I have ever taken...well, maybe the HSPAs. But still. It was absolutely ridiculous, and they were never spoken of again.


2003-03-25 09:23:01 PM  
For those of you who that want to blame the "liberal teachers and their unions" for this, keep in mind that the tests are mandated at the state levels, not by the unions. Teachers are forced to prepare their students for the exams or risk losing funding for their schools.

Maybe if more parents took some responsibility in making sure their kids understand what they're supposed to be learning, we'd be better off as a society.

/can't buy a house because my three kids go to private school and I wouldn't have it any other way
2003-03-25 10:17:42 PM  
I remember back when I was in school the teaching how to take tests craze was already starting.

My gifted studies class (yeah a class just for those kids considered gifted) suddenly became the how to take a test class. We learned absolutely nothing but test taking techniques
2003-03-25 10:37:27 PM  
they would teach the material except its farking stupid and not worth class time...and standardized tests arent always teachable, but everything relies on them in florida
2003-03-25 11:38:49 PM  
I'm scared. 9 more months until I have a teaching certificate.

I am supposedly at one of the better public colleges for obtaining a certifiate, that states from across America recruit here.

Yet.... when I brought up many of the questions and concerns discussed above I was told several times about a bad attitude and that I should consider a different profession.

Yes.... public schools suck and politicians pandering for votes have placed their putrid paws into the system.

And.... one seldom hears of the problems caused by the massive legal and illegal immigration since 1965. 25% of American households speak a language other than English in the home.

Teachers are expected to instruct the kids of the poverty-stricken masses we have imported or have invaded. Hispanics in California have drop-out rates approaching 60%. Those people are expected to do well on tests?


Excessive immigration, illegal aliens, politicians sticking their noses into affairs they know nothing of.

Home school or private school your kids..... unless you live in a upper-middle class town or better the aliens and imigrants can't afford to live in and that offers an education much better than average. THe rest of you.... get your kids the hell out of public schools!!!!
2003-03-25 11:44:51 PM  
Why does it matter? - middle school is more an institute of socialization and social control rather than an means to get a decent education anyway.
2003-03-26 01:00:36 AM  
What is it with this country and the farking acronyms? Sheesh. And these standardized tests. I'm in Ohio and we have a 9th grade proficiency test that you have to take to get your diploma, otherwise you just get a "certificate of attendance" ( no idea if we have an acronym for it or not, nor do I care) My class didn't have to take it as a requirement, but the next years did. This thing was a total and complete farking joke. EVERYTHING single thing that was in it I had learned in seventh grade. Then again I paid attention and was blessed with good TEACHERS who could talk to us and explain concepts and ideas. The powers that be wonder why everyone wants to homeschool. It's because we want our kids to learn, not memorize a test. And in ohio, as I said at the time, aint it a shame that you can send a kid to school for 12 years and yet all that he will be certified as learning when he gets his diploma is on a ninth grade level? I agree totally on eliminating social promotion. If yer gonna keep yer kid from becoming an asshat, you have to teach him that life aint fair. My brother got held back in the second grade, yet he only went ahead and graduated number 5 in his class. (You go bro, come back from Kuwait alive) Test this and test that, what does it really prove but that you can memorize one farking test. And this lady faces JAIL TIME for this? I mean come on really. OK I think I'm done and just slightly under the word limit of the headline
2003-03-26 03:21:16 AM  
My 3rd, 4th and 5th grade teacher helped us cheat on state exams too...
2003-03-26 04:46:17 AM  
I am not quite sure if the test I had was similar to the fcat.

However near the end of grade five we were given a test that tested basic comprehension, reading and mathematical skill.

It was multiple choice and you had to use a pencil to colour in the circle to indicate your answer.

The teachers just gave us the test. No warning, no practice. Told us we were going to have the test then immediatly gave it to us.

This was in Victoria Australia
2003-03-26 03:20:32 PM  
I live in Massachusetts (with the MCAS test), and what I've learned is that they didn't invent the tests to see if they're teaching you well enough. They invented them to go along with some fscking curriculum they made up for the state. I do not have a single teacher who uses this curriculum. Usually, about a month before the test we get "Sample packets". They are boring, poorly written, either overly simple or overly complex, and a huge waste of time. I later found out that this IS the curriculum they're supposed to be teaching us. Whoever thought up this ridiculous and inane systems deserves as swift kick in the head.
2003-03-26 03:22:17 PM  
"What is it with this country and the farking acronyms?"
Heheh. I used to have to take a test called the "IOWA" test.

I live in Massachusetts. Go figure.
2003-03-26 03:28:15 PM  
"IOWA" is not an acronym. It's the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. It's created for Iowa but quite a few states use it.
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