April 22, 2012

Really no need to panic during test time

Parents are well aware that their children (in grades three through eight) have spent the past few days taking government-mandated standardized tests, which will continue this week.

Please, do not panic.

Sure, these tests are important. As I understand it, teachers will be judged by how their students are graded on these tests. Those labeled as underperformers could face the loss of their jobs.

Administrators whose schools don't do well could be demoted to cleaning crew and lunch preparation.

Schools that don't do well could lose federal funding, resulting in the laying off of both teachers and administrators, and the elimination of unimportant subjects like golf, reading and science.

Districts that do poorly could consolidate or shut down schools.

States that post low scores will be mocked by those overachievers in Vermont and American Samoa, and may just give up on education altogether, leaving students with no options but home school or expensive private school.

Individual students who don't do well on these tests will have their career paths irrevocably changed, at age 8. Their earning potential and the location of their future homes (or hovels) and the quality of their spouses and children will be determined.

They will receive red marks on their permanent records and the good colleges — even, really, the not-quite-average colleges — will blacklist them. Scholarships and school loans will be denied automatically. Welfare applications will automatically be submitted on their behalf.

More immediately, the underachievers will receive ridicule from the high achievers, and will be treated with contempt and spite by the teachers and administrators whose jobs and salaries are dependent on the tests.

So, again, no reason to panic.

At this point, your child may have already bombed the English Language Arts (ELA) tests, but all is not lost. Colleges realize that by 2019, 82 percent of their enrollees will have only the faintest understanding of written language, and books themselves will be an urban legend.

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