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Location: Texas, United States

I am a teacher with 33 years experience in public education. The purpose of this web log is to critically examine the present state of education in our great country and, particularly, in Texas.

Friday, April 21, 2006

National Geographic vs Tippy Chases His Tail

Another aspect of the testing scandal that is occurring in Texas is seen in the seemingly trivial requirements around this test. What is the difference between a magazine like the National Geographic and a 10 page book from the school library.

One can be read in a classroom after TAKS and the other cannot. Would you like to guess which one is forbidden?

You are absolutely right! National Geographic would be the magazine that is the one that the students cannot read after the test.

After a student completes marking the TAKS test he or she certainly must remain quiet. That is not arguable. So, students in a particular testing situation were given National Geographic magazines to read. The problem is that National Geographic is a magazine. By virtue of its binding students were told that they could not read National Geographic magazine.

The state of Texas tells test administrators that after the test the students can read a book. They can't read a magazine. They can't draw. They can't put their heads on their desk and sleep. The situation has become so legalistic, so rule bound and so silly that school administrators are running scared of being found guilty of violating any of the silly rules associated with this farce. Since the instructions say "book" the students WILL read a book, not a magazine like National Geographic. So students are reading books. And many, if not most of the books, are written at a very low reading level. As long as the material they read is in the printed form we know as a "book" anything is legal.

The thing I would like to ask any parent is how long are you willing to put up with this until you hold the politicians who voted for and still support this monstrosity responsible. How long will you put up with this mess. Your kids time is being wasted.

The people who tolerate this waste of time in their kids lives are responsible. That would include all of us if we do not raise our voices for change.

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