WASL Smashal
Friday, April 28, 2006

This week is WASL week at Kendell's school. WASL stands for Washington Assessment of Student Learning. You now have to pass this test in order to graduate in Washington State.

I committed the grave sin of keeping Kendell out of school yesterday in order for him to participate in Bring Your Child to Work day. I left a message with the school and even contacted his teacher before hand. He has been begging to come see my work and this is the only real time we can get away with small children having the run of a public office.

I received a call from his school promptly at 8am asking me if I were aware it was WASL testing week. I felt like I was talking to my mother. The disapproval came through the phone line loud and clear; I could instantly picture the pinched features and glower of the school secretary.

I imagine her intention was to shame me into ushering my child right to school to correct this black mark on my parenting report card. She was a bit suprised when I reminded her there were make up days for the test and that they were there just for an occasion such as this. She sputtered a bit, flustered by my lack of humility and remorse, giving me ample opportunity to wish her a good day.

It's a roll down hill kinda thing, this obsession with the WASL. The school district puts pressure on the school and then the school puts pressure on the teacher who then puts pressure on the student.

Kendell is ten years old, he is only in fourth grade. He was so worried about the WASL that he was having tummy aches. This to me is too much. No child of ten should agonize so much over a test that doesn't even affect their grade. Come to find out, Kendell's teacher said that it was important the students did well on the test because it would show how well she does her job.

I disagree, to me, if my son improves on the things he is struggling with and most importantly, is a happy student, then she has done her job well.

When did teachers stop wanting to teach a child in order for that child to succeed, and instead decided to teach a child in order to please the state regulating board. Somewhere their priorities got lost.

I guess that's why God invented parents, we are our childrens official Bullshit Meter.

Blogger Aimee "Roo" had this to say:

Hi! Michelle sent me.

Good for you on not letting her little guilt trip work. :)

10:27 AM, April 28, 2006 

Anonymous Claire had this to say:

Hi Michele sent me!!

Good to hear you stood up for your son! 10 Year olds shouldn't have that sort of pressure put on them it's wrong! We have national tests (SAT's) that all 7 and 11 year olds have to take...I think it's so unfair to put children of those ages through. It's difficult enough at 16yrs when the end of compulsory schooling exams (GCSE's) have to be taken and you're prepped for those for 2 years beforehand!

10:43 AM, April 28, 2006 

Blogger katehopeeden had this to say:

Oh dude, my daughter had to take a TAKS test (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) this year (she is in third grade). The first part was the Reading test (done a few months ago) and then this month, Math.
My poor little girl.
She was freaking out.
My daughters are both A Honor Roll and very bright, but she was scared shitless.
She had it circled on the calendar and was marking the days off as she got closer.
She aced the reading test. Perfect score, which was so awesome. Math results aren't back yet.
On top of the TAKS test, they also take Benchmark tests (I typed 'testes' the first time, lol) every year in order to advance to the next grade.
Anyway, I had never seen Amanda as stressed out as she was over taking this test. I even called her teacher to make sure she wasn't the only one stressing.

11:23 AM, April 28, 2006 

Blogger Kirsten had this to say:

You can thank Bush and his ridiculous No Child Left Behind for that. If schools don't show a certain level of improvement on test scores each year, they lose funding. It's unrealistic and causes unnecessary stress not only on students but on teachers as well. Kendell's teacher shouldn't have put her students on a guilt trip, but there's probably politics going on behind the scenes. The principal may be putting pressure on the teachers, and that can get really nasty; I've seen it firsthand. This is one reason why I'm quitting my job after this school year and teaching at a college instead.

11:32 AM, April 28, 2006 

Blogger margalit had this to say:

I can relate. My daughter has an upcoming doctor's appt that we waited MONTHS to get. It's with a specialist and she's going, no matter what. This appt happens to coincide with the first day of our state testing. She told her learning specialist (sped jerk) that she wouldn't be there for the first day of testing and he actually asked her what kind of doctor's appointment it was and why couldn't she move it? I waas LIVID. I wrote him an email telling him to get his frigging priorites straight and that a child's physical health is a lot more important than a ridiculous standardized test.

Man, I hate those tests.

Here via Michele

12:07 PM, April 28, 2006 

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