Thursday, March 26, 2015

How Do You Spell Relief?

How Do You Spell Relief - ParentUnplugged - Stacy Snyder
Hooray!  The freakin' PARCC, a controversial new standardized testing system, is over as of yesterday in our school.  Did the sky fall?  Nope.  Did the opposers make a dent?  I don’t know.  Do the proponents feel vindicated? I don’t know.  Do I care?  Nope.  Am I curious about the results of the tests for my child?  Not really. 

I more just wanted it to be over so people would “stifle it” as Archie Bunker would say, as I heard some of the craziest comments come out of people’s mouths and experienced more than a few awkward “ice breakers” trying to lure me into conversation about an issue I care absolutely nothing about.  Here’s some fun examples:

Parent (and School):  “I let my kids decide if they wanted to take the test or not.”

Initially it sounded insane to me to ask your kid if they want to take a test or not, DUH….NO.  I’m envisioning the fast-forward button pushed where grown children who were given and took the chance to opt-out of PARCC testing, were up for an interview at a company where personality/admin/financial/whatever testing needs to be administered as part of the screening process and candidates says, “I’m going to choose not to take the test.”  That’s a surefire way to take yourself out of the running for said job.  To be fair, I’ve turned down testing myself (only drug) on occasion in my young adulthood, as the timing wasn’t right, but it wasn’t because my parents taught me I could choose if I wanted to be tested or not….I just knew I would fail, which is another whole issue in itself.  As a follow-up, most of the parents’ kids who had been given the option without any parental nudging (at least of people that I know), actually chose to take the test. Might our kids have a better appreciation of the testing’s importance than we do? Could be.

Parent:  “I’m not having my child take the test because it’s conducted with paper and pencil, and that’s nothing like the real weighted test next year, so it’s not considered good practice.”

“A sphincter says what?” as Wayne Campbell would say.  Do we not still use paper and pencil in this world?  Might the opportunity ever arise when our children might need to use a writing utensil in a pinch to get their point across?  Might they benefit from the lesson of flexibility when it comes to testing, and everything else for that matter, as many times in life you don’t get what you expect, and isn’t that when character comes out….how you handle change?  Additionally, the subject matter of the test is the same, regardless of the vehicle to assess the topics.

Parent:  “They’re hiring test scorers on Craigslist!  Grading won’t be done properly by people making $11/hour.”

Wow.  Do you need the president to grade your kids’ test?  Seriously, did you ever make $11/hour and if so, what did you do?  Was it important or not?  I’ve never had an unimportant job and I can assure you I’ve completed some tough tasks for $11/hour and moved on to $12/hour, then $15/hour and so on.  Do you know that many of the people in Chicago, cripe, people living in this neighborhood even, make about that hourly rate?  Would you not feel a parent from this neighborhood capable of grading your childrens’ tests, if trained to do so?  On another note, Craigslist is still a great place to find employees and jobs, and that’s ll the grading is….a job.  End of story.

Parent:  “Are you having your kids take the PARCC?” 
Another Parent:  “No.  I don’t have any issue with it.”
Parent:  “I didn’t either until everyone started sending emails, posting social media warnings about it, and lobbying at school and in the media for other parents to join forces against it.  Now I don’t know what to do.”
Another Parent:  “Well what do you think now about the test?”
Parent:  “It doesn’t bother me, but I’ll probably opt out because everyone else is.”

I have no sidebar on this other than JONES is probably not your last name, so quit trying to act like one.

Look, I’m not trying to stir the cauldron here on an issue that is finally lying peacefully, at least for this week, at the bottom of everyone’s laundry list.  I just want to point out that regardless of all the pros and cons and lobbying and digging in heels over the testing issue, it’s over and it didn’t kill anyone, at least no one that I know of.  From my vantage point, the kids were happy for some candy in the classroom (another issue to throw people off the deep end) and a break from the unending homework (go ahead, you know you want to jump back on the homework is evil train).

Shall we just relish together in the fact that this is over for now and our kids were left unscathed and we’re left without anything to talk about?  That’s how I spell relief!  

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