Kindergarten teacher fights state test

Discussion in 'General Education' started by bandnerdtx, Sep 12, 2014.

  1. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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  3. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I may be in the minority here and I understand that people don't like standardized testing, but I do not agree with her actions at all. At all. First and foremost, she's risking her job and if she gets fired, she can no longer be an advocate for her students. Not to mention, SHE COULD LOSE HER JOB.

    Furthermore, it is part of her job responsibilities to administer these exams and she knows this. This is not some crazy whim or last minute initiative her Admin wants her to implement - it is a state exam. I'm sure these results are used somehow to classify/organize/label her students which means that not having data on them is not acceptable (IMO).

    Personally, I'm not going to tell my employer that I'm going to disregard something they want and NEED me to do because I don't agree with it especially something as important as giving a state exam. Additionally, I feel like this sets a bad example for my students because I'm ALWAYS preaching about "exercising discipline as an adult" especially in the work place. I do not want to promote the idea that it's okay to dismiss authority (especially your boss) and do whatever you want just because you feel that you're in the right.

    Good luck to her, though. I wish unwanted unemployment on no one.
     
  4. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    While standardized testing may have its place at appropriate grades, I think people are missing what is the real problem. In teaching 4 different grade levels, I have seen how incredibly different primary, intermediate, and middle school students are by nature. Therefore, it drives me crazy how administrators find something that might help older students, and then mandate it for all ages. Someone finally needs to stop and say "Hey, I know 5 year olds and this isn't the best fit for them!" I applaud this lady for doing so.
     
  5. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Is it not part of her job responsibilities to administer these tests? Why did she accept the job if she was not ok with mandated state exams? The FAIR is state mandated so I'm sure the data collected is used for something important (label, classify, organize kindergarteners). This woman just can't decide that her students won't have any data attached to their names because of her personal beliefs.

    This is pushing a boundary that could be dangerous once crossed, IMO.
     
  6. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I agree with Blue on this one. I also feel like the kids will be forced to take it no matter what. If I said I didn't want my kids taking the OGTs, my super would easily find a replacement to administer the test. There are better ways to go about this.
     
  7. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    The FAIR is just one of many tests given to Florida students that give the same data. That same data can be gathered by teachers in the classroom by using the assessments embedded in the curriculum.

    I quit public school for the same reasons this teacher is expressing. I guess I wasn't brave enough to risk being fired by refusing to give the tests...I quit after the tests had been administered.

    I applaud this teacher. We even had a school board in this state vote to refuse to give standardized testing...unfortunately, the board had to reconsider because of the graduation repercussions it would have created.

    This insanity has to stop.
     
  8. lilia123

    lilia123 Companion

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    It's really unbelievable how much instructional time is lost through standardized testing. What's even more scary is the amount of money states pay to the companies that create these tests. Hopefully more parents will begin to speak out about not allowing their children to loose so much instructional time for standardized testing. There is a middle ground between accountability and minimizing disruption to instruction hopefully one day they can find it.
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Testing like this sucks. Good for her for doing her part to try and prevent child abuse.
     
  10. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I almost posted this yesterday. I applaud her for taking a stand, and more so for making parents aware. I think the only way to get the madness to stop is if parents really realize what is going on and pitch a fit.

    That said, as others mentioned, her kids will still have to take the test. It will be even more stressful on these young kids with a strange adult administering the test.
     
  11. MsDeb

    MsDeb Comrade

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    This is in my district and there is a lot of support for her! The way they are testing kindergartners is just crazy. They way we have to test older grades is not as painful but still excessive. This week my students (5th grade) had 5 hours of testing - 5 hours of complete frustration because they are being tested on what they should know by the end of the year.
     
  12. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Child abuse? Really?:rolleyes:

    Let's not. Just stop.
     
  13. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Until the law changes - until the FAIR is no longer a state requirement - the teacher must/should give the test. There's nothing more to it.

    If she has such a big problem with it, then she needs to quit also.
     
  14. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    :thumb:
     
  15. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Idk where I stand on her choice, although I know I completely agree with her take on testing.

    However, I disagree that she automatically must/should give the test. Everyone has different motivations for teaching. Obviously, she feels so strongly about this that she is ok with risking her job over it. To just go with the status quo is ok, but I don't think it's necessarily wrong not to. Think of people who may have gotten fired over standing up for other civil rights issues. Would you say their actions were pointless?
     
  16. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    This is truly an irresponsible comment.

    Comparing a state test to child abuse, ridiculous and out of touch with reality.
     
  17. dr.gator

    dr.gator Comrade

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    I also work in the same district as this teacher. I've taught 20+ years with about 17 of those in K. This teacher has taught 26 years. When I got in to teaching in Florida, FAIR didn't exist. There were very few standardized tests we gave. I personally chose to change grade levels three years ago, because teaching K was no longer rewarding for me. I felt that was my best option to solve the inner turmoil I was experiencing with what I knew was right for my Kindergareteners and what I was being told to do. This lady is in a place in her life to stand up for her students, her fellow teachers, and her professional conscience. I sometimes wonder if I'm just a machine of the state or am I really serving a purpose. I APPAULD THIS TEACHER FOR WHAT SHE'S DOING. The profession needs more teachers willing to share what's happening in the classroom.
     
  18. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Civil rights issues and mandated testing are two different things. As a Black women, I am not a fan (aka TIRED) of people using the CRM as a comparison for other "civil rights" issues ... so, I'm going to leave that alone.

    Anyway, if you take a job and decide you don't want to do the job's required duties (as long as they are legal) due to your principles, then you need to quit. This woman should quit and spend her days lobbying her state lawmakers to make changes to their educational testing requitrements. Don't hold your students hostage because you feel the need to make a point.
     
  19. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I couldn't believe it either. Just can't with some of these comments.
     
  20. otterpop

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    I specifically did not reference the civil rights movement, because there are other civil rights issues and yes, I do consider the idea that educational and children's rights could be included in that very broad category. Not everyone would agree and that's ok. I am not trying to minimalize anyone else's personal experiences, but I do consider what is being done in education right now to be a disservice to our kids in more ways than just testing requirements.

    That said, I will conform because I need a paycheck and I feel I can have a greater impact inside the industry rather than out of it.
     
  21. teach1

    teach1 Companion

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    I couldn't agree more. :yeahthat:

    To the poster(s) who are expressing that she is doing wrong by her students by refusing to give them this state mandated test... I disagree. I would rather have my child taught by a teacher who was interested in my child's overall health/safety/happiness/learning. I understand that not all teachers are in a place where they can afford to/want to stir the pot... but I do appreciate that this teacher is standing up for what she believes in.

    I am glad this teacher went this route rather than "quitting." This route shines a light on the situation in an important way.
     
  22. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I sat through a meeting yesterday and really wish I had the courage to do the same thing. We give a test that is supposed to be used to identify GT students. We give it in December. It is not based on our curriculum. But we were just given the compendium of what is going to be on it and we are told to teach all that in the next 2 months. So instead of focusing on things like basic phonics and number sense, we are already teaching things like time, money, addition. Not to mention tricks like if you can't read the whole sentence, at least sound out the last word. We have to teach them the multiple choice format and practice that weekly on classroom assessments, otherwise they will just fill in all the bubbles. Some don't even have the fine motor skills to correctly hold a pencil. The actual test takes 5 days, 2 hours per day. I don't think parents realize at all how much damage we are doing, just for that one score-that is supposed to be incidental.

    We are told to teach to this test because we will be judged on the scores. It's the only "data" they have for us. It was actually brought up in my goal setting conference-to do better this year because in the past scores have just been average.

    I wouldn't even have the courage to complain to my superintendent, much less the world. I also applaud her.
     
  23. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    So what's the end result of this? She'll get fired, and they'll hire a new teacher who will be super gung-ho about these tests to prove how different she is from "bad old teacher." Instead of having a teacher who understands how the students are overworked and tries to make the process as easy as possible, they'll have a teacher who is being watched from every angle by the school and media and follows every directive to a T.

    That doesn't really seem best for the kids; just for the 26-year vet who will get a new job and tons of "you're awesome!" backpats and accolades.

    I'm against over-testing (although I'm ok with testing, in general), but I'm a fan of fighting the system from within the system. Unless it's hurting me, the kids come first.
     
  24. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Hugs, Kinder.

    I'm in the minority on A to Z in that I believe that standardized statewide tests have their place and that it's possible to write a multiple-choice test that taps into higher-level thinking.

    But (and, Kinder, I know you've already heard my rant on this topic) the test you describe is, um, ...

    *insert here TG ransacking her vocabulary for something that is both forceful and SFAZ (Suitable For A to Z)*

    ... to borrow a phrase from our friends across the Pond, "bloody stupid". First, it's packaged as a GT test but your district is misusing it. Second, it's no GT test. Giftedness isn't about skills acquired a grade or two early, but rather about brains that see the world differently and make surprising connections. Third, it follows from the second point that scores on a legitimate GT test have abso-flaking-lutely nothing to do with instruction: judging teachers on that basis is ludicrous to asinine. Fourth, if the test is valid for anything, it's a high-achiever test - and for kindergarten, that's bogus-and-a-half: I've seen precocious readers in kinder who were merely somewhat ahead of the pack by middle school, and I've seen on-grade or late readers who finally caught fire in high school or college. Fifth, there is NO legitimate link between giftedness and filling in stupid little bubbles on stupid little forms, except possibly for the kid who's high in spatial intelligence or manual dexterity. Sixth, a legitimate GT test shouldn't be identifying more than about 6% of kids anyway.

    As to the teacher who prompted this thread, I sympathize but I don't agree. Better, in my mind, to refuse to give the preliminaries: the assessments that are supposed to show whether the kids are ready for the assessments that are supposed to show whether the kids are ready for the assessments that are supposed to show whether the kids are ready for the state test.
     
  25. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    It's interesting to me how divided we are on this issue, yet we all agree that the kids, particularly in elementary, are over tested. HistoryVA, you mentioned working within the system... how would you do that if you felt the test was inherently flawed and educationally unsound?
     
  26. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I'm not trying to start an argument with you, but I truly don't understand how the kids come first when we have a 180 day school year and 78 of those days are spent testing. How are we putting kids first when we drop art, music, recess, social studies in order to study for and take tests?
     
  27. lilia123

    lilia123 Companion

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    One thing I thought of this week while 3rd grade was taking the beginning of the year test was how these tests disrupt classes that aren't even taking the test. In order to meet the accommodations of some of the IEP kids my para was pulled out of my classroom for 3 days for most of the morning. This really effected my instruction because my children do not learn well in a whole group manner and were not able to receive the level of instruction they normally get.
     
  28. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    None of these are dropped from my classroom.

    As I have stated before, how is one teaching social studies that does not have a DIRECT POSITIVE impact on language arts abilities and multiple choice tests?
     
  29. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    In many elementary schools, it is not the teacher's choice. Most schools that I have worked in have given the staff a master schedule at the beginning of the year that list the subjects to teach and what time to teach them. I had one P that even demanded that each teacher on the grade level teach the same skill at the same time, with the same lesson.
     
  30. readingrules12

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    Go Blue, while I don't agree with your stance for testing in K, I do respect it a lot. I think it is great that you stand up and speak in what you believe in to be best.

    What really surprises me is that you don't believe that a teacher should stand up for what they believe in against the admin. and powers that be. I am sure you agree that what we do as teachers is highly important, and that the students we serve are also incredibly important. I know I have stood up against things that are wrong where I teach, and sometimes I have stood silent. I look back and I am disappointed where I have been silent and allowed bad policies to grow and hurt children.

    Our country has a rich history of people who were willing to give up their jobs and even their lives to stand up for what is right. If I was the boss or head of a school board, the last thing I would want is for no one to question what I do. If testing Kindergarten students to the extent that is happening at this Florida school is bad for students, and if she is able to get others to support her with this (teachers and parents), she could help change a wrongful policy that is poor for children. Only if this much testing is a good thing, can I see your argument against what she is doing.

    When I was in business, I was asked to participate in something highly illegal and unethical. I didn't. I ended up quitting, and then I reported the item to corporate. No one listened to me as I was no longer a part of the organization. Her best chance to be listened to is to do it while she is still teaching.
     
  31. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yes, I agree. It sucks that districts have promoted crappy teachers into positions of authority.
     
  32. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Please keep in mind that it is not the FAIR test in and of itself, but the revamps made to the test over the summer that made this teacher refuse to administer it.

    In K, it is a 1-on-1 test. The teacher and child are advised to wear headphones. Alachua County School District is not paying for subs to teach the other 17 kinders in the classroom. K teachers at her school decided that one teacher would administer the test while the other taught 35 kindergartners alone.

    The test takes 35-60 minutes to administer per child.

    The test is on the computer and requires the K student to click answers. If they double or triple click, it skips the question, and there is no way to go back. This results in inaccurate scores, which teachers are required to use to drive their instruction.

    The FLDOE is not addressing any of these issues.

    FL has a history of testing issues. During last year's FCAT, the state testing system went down in the middle of the test, resulting in an hour or so delay. At other times, the program would randomly boot a kid out of the test, and the kid would have to wait until a test administrator came in and unlocked their session for them to continue. The state swore this had no effect on scores, but quite a lot of the kids became more and more stressed out each time they were booted.

    In my county, we have been forced for several years to give benchmark tests with wrong answers, passages riddled with typos, and questions asking students to respond to a picture where no picture was present. We're supposed to use these tests to guide our instruction.

    It is issues like these that are making teachers in FL feel that testing is out of hand, poorly planned, rushed, and frankly, a huge waste of our limited instructional time.
     
  33. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    That's why I said I'm against overtesting. I do agree that some states/districts/whatever are going overboard. I just don't see how an apparently loving teacher quitting in protest is the best decision for her kids. Does anyone honestly believe qualified teachers quitting is going to change The Powers That Be's minds? They see us as easily replaceable.
     
  34. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I think it's more about her bringing attention to the issue than anything else.
     
  35. teach1

    teach1 Companion

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    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but she didn't quit. She refused to give the test.
     
  36. dr.gator

    dr.gator Comrade

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    Correct! She is still working and all signs lead one to believe that firing her (or her quitting) is not an option at the top of the district's list. The district's stance is that there is too much testing. The majority of the board and the superintendent feel this way. Remember, I work in this district.
     
  37. 2ndTimeAround

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    If this were to happen in my district, where a teacher refused to do something the super and the school board were against, she would not be at risk for losing her job. We are hired by the district. The state cannot fire us.

    The state CAN give the district/school bad ratings. I'm sure there could be some money withheld. But as long as she has the support of those that determine her employment, she is safe.

    I say kudos to her. She is protecting the education of her students. There is always crap to take when you work for someone else, and you have to personally decide how much of it you accept.

    These tests are ridiculous. I don't have a problem with some standardized tests. These? Can't get behind them at all. Everything about them is wrong.
     
  38. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    She is a local hero around here now and everyone (from her Supt/principal on down) are supporting her. The system is rigged. We have no power and people like her are brave enough to point it out.
     
  39. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Teachers should certainly have a voice when it comes to creating and evaluating assessment protocols, but frankly aren't qualified to determine the psychometrics of state tests, so really shouldn't be refusing to administer them.

    Here would be a similar analogy: A classroom teacher notices that a child who takes medication for ADHD becomes extremely tired all the time, so refuses to send the child to the nurse to take his medication. Should the teacher have input into the doctor's treatment of ADHD? Without question. However, the teacher isn't qualified - nor is s/he otherwise in the position - to make the executive decision in the situation.
     
  40. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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  41. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Sep 15, 2014

    That's awesome, Chebrutta! Thanks for the update!
     

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