Friday, March 21, 2014

Crash Landing

I am part of a national, online community that is pushing back against high-stakes testing and the rapid rollout of the Common Core. This morning a member from California shared the story I have copied below.

This is a sign of things to come. Computers crash because of the way Bill Gates approaches software, and he has now bought his way into the school reform movement.

My kindergarteners had their standardized computerized test today. 

There were over 100 questions. Answers were selected by drop and drag with a trackpad, no mouse is available. One class took five hours to finish. Kids crying in 4 of 5 classes. Multiple computer crashes ("okay, you just sit right there while we fix it! Don't talk to anyone!"). Kids sitting for half hour with volume off on headsets but not saying anything. Kids accidentally swapping tangled headsets and not even noticing what they heard had nothing to do with what they saw on the screen. Kids having to solve 8+6 when the answer choices are 0-9 and having to DRAG AND DROP first a 1 then a 4 to form a 14. Some questions where it was only necessary to click an answer but the objects were movable (for no reason). No verbal explanation that you must click the little speaker square to hear the instructions. To go to the next question, one clicks "next" in lower right-hand corner.....which is also where the pop-up menu comes up to take you to other programs or shut down, so about many shut-downs or kids winding up in a completely different program.

If this is not what you want for your kids and grandkids, you'd better start making some noise. Ten years ago we would've thought this would be literally impossible.

The movement demonizes teachers, and conveniently offers this alternative. It is not just about building wealth for Bill Gates (the J.D. Rockefeller of computing has plenty of other ways to extort money), but that is one of its outcomes.

Rocketship charter schools get kids cubicle-ready.

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