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A Kindergartner’s Nightmare

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Is this education? Is this what we want for our children and grandchildren?

Teachers have called the testing regime child abuse and here you get to read about it firsthand.

A teacher’s recount of the first day of Common Core Testing as posted on the Badass Teachers (BATS) Facebook page:

“I’m aiming for the short version here.

My kindergartners 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 grand-kids, you’d better start making some noise. Ten years ago we would’ve thought this would be literally impossible.”

This is kindergarten people! This is what it has become between the Common Core Standards and high stakes testing.

This is a good way to create students who don’t want to go to school and think learning is hell.

Join me and Jesse Hagopian in a discussion about the Common Core Standards, high stakes testing and opting out. Due to the demand, we will be Skyping this workshop to those who are interested.

Enough is enough!

Dora

Post Script:

I received a comment stating that children in the US are not keeping up with other nations, that’s why the “need” for Common Core Standards. If you believe that we went into Iraq for reasons of  “national security” and because there were “Weapons of Mass Destruction” you might believe this. If you think that the NSA is protecting our Constitutional rights, then you might believe this also.

The truth is that parents from around the world are still sending their students to US Universities and secondary schools because of our “standards”. Quite frankly, I taught students from Great Britain for a year and for the most part they lack creative and critical thinking skills, something that has set us apart as a nation. The accomplishments with NASA, the developments that we have made over the years reflect us as thinkers and leaders and most of us have been the product of our public educational system.

The statement that we are not keeping astride of other nations is propaganda, a marketing ploy, and nothing more.

See what Diane Ravitch has to say on the subject:

What Do the NAEP Scores Mean?

Every once in a while, a new set of test scores is released by the National Assessment Governing Board, the federal agency that supervises the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Just a few days ago, the NAEP scores for science were released for 4th and 8th grades, and once again there was woe and gnashing of teeth in the land (http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/05/10/31naep_ep.h31.html?tkn=VPXFO3wzO2s%2Bbex2WwFqNNnCfYtzrpCNzSmA&cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS1). The scores had improved, but not enough to satisfy the nay-sayers.

The media react with alarm every time the NAEP scores appear because only about one-third or so of students is rated “proficient.” This is supposed to be something akin to a national tragedy because presumably almost every child should be “proficient.” Remember, under No Child Left Behind, ALL students are supposed to be proficient in reading and math by the year 2014.

Since I served on NAGB for seven years, I can explain what the board’s “achievement levels” mean. There are four levels. At the top is “advanced.” Then comes “proficient.” Then “basic.” And last, “below basic.”

Advanced is truly superb performance, which is like getting an A+. Among fourth graders, 8% were advanced readers in 2011; 3% of eighth graders were advanced. In reading, these numbers have changed little in the past twenty years. In math, there has been a pretty dramatic growth in national scores over these past twenty years: the proportion of students who scored advanced in fourth grade grew from 2% in 1992 to 7% in 2011. In eighth grade, the proportion who were advanced in math grew from 3% in 1992 to 8% in 2011.

Proficient is akin to a solid A. In reading, the proportion who were proficient in fourth grade reading rose from 29% in 1992 to 34% in 2011. The proportion proficient in eighth grade also rose from 29% to 34% in those years. In math, the proportion in fourth grade who were proficient rose from 18% to 40% in the past twenty years, an absolutely astonishing improvement. In eighth grade, the proportion proficient in math went from 21% in 1992 to an amazing 35% in 2011.

Basic is akin to a B or C level performance. Good but not good enough.

And below basic is where we really need to worry. These are the students who really don’t understand math or read well at all. The proportion who are below basic has dropped steadily in both reading and math in fourth and eighth grades since 1992.

When the scores are broken out by race, you can really see dramatic progress, especially in math. In 1992, 80% of black students in fourth grade were below basic. By 2011, that proportion had dropped to 49%. Among white students in fourth grade math, the proportion below basic fell in that time period from 40% to only 16%.

The changes in reading scores are not as dramatic as in math, but they are nonetheless impressive. In fourth grade, the proportion of black students who were below basic in 1992 was 68%; by 2011, it was down to 51%. In eighth grade, the proportion of black students who were reading below basic was 55%; that had fallen to 41% by 2011.

The point here is that NAEP scores show steady and very impressive improvement over the past twenty years. Our problems are tough, but they are not intractable. The next time someone tells you that U.S. education is “failing,” or “declining,” tell them they are wrong.

Post Script 2:

Here are videos about the Common Core Standards from different perspectives:

From a “Warrior Mom” and and editor of Education without Representation.

From a 15 year old student in Arkansas who connected the dots on the Common Core Standards:

And this from a teacher:

Regarding the comments below:

I go through each comment before posting. All comments that are within my understanding of civil conversation and are relevant to the subject, are posted, If there is a comment I want to respond to, I take my time with it because I want to respond accurately.

To me the comments provide additional information that all can use, that’s why I take care in my responses or answers.

Unfortunately I do have to hold down a couple of day jobs to support my blogging/writing habit, so please be patient if you do not see your comment posted immediately.

I appreciate all responses and the interaction with all of you.

Dora

77 comments on “A Kindergartner’s Nightmare

  1. Pingback: CURE Washington » Blog Archive » Washington state loses federal waiver. So…do we really need federal funding?

  2. cpeppler01
    May 4, 2014
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  4. Natlie
    March 24, 2014

    Hi there. I am currently teaching in South Korea and can honostly say this doesn’t work. We teach children from kindergarden and up and the pressure they feel is intens. SK has one of the highest suiside rates amongst Middle and High School students than any other place in the world. Ask any student here and they will tell you they hate school. After a whole day of school from 8h30am to 6pm in the evenings(HS) they still attend acadamies for extra classes most of them only going home around 10pm. Then still study until after midnight. They don’t cope!! And this all to pass one test at the end of your HS sr year. Unfortunatly we, the parents set the standerd and allow this. We are responsible for our childrens education, but we also need to stand up and protect our children. They have the right to be children, to play outside and enjoy their educations.
    If we don’t step in and make a stand for them. No one ells will.

  5. Leanne
    March 24, 2014

    In Tennessee here. My daughter started K this year & has had “behavioral problems”…..,mostly what I consider to be normal age related behaviors. Such as talking in the hall, not sitting still for extended periods of time, cutting the hem of her own shirt, or writing 8 letters on a page in her MOOSE book —> that is her binder for her homework ( yes homework in K!! ) and notes & papers for the teacher & the parents, etc. ( I told the principle that since I paid for the shirt & the MOOSE book that if I was ok with her doing anything at all to them then she was not to be punished for it!! ) Some acting out behaviors have been from frustration with the work or normal age related conflicts with other students. She can become bored or distracted easily….gee, imagine that happening to a kindergartener!!

    During the parent orientation prior to school actually beginning, her teacher told us that the school had to submit a daily schedule to the state that included all the requirements of Common Core, The schedule only had time for ONE bathroom break during the day!!!! WTH!!!???!!! Now, her teacher said she would make sure the kids had enough bathroom breaks, but the fact that the schedule only had time for 1 bathroom break should be a red flag!!. The schedule also included 15 minutes for recess each day….for kindergarteners!! They also get 1 hour of gym time 1 day a week but it is structured exercise like jumping jacks, etc, not play. They also are expected to sit still on a carpet in front of the teacher for 2.5 hours of solid reading time. I would lose my mind as an adult!! And of course, when kids get in trouble, they lose recess/gym time or have to sit by themselves at lunch.

    They expect little robots that do not move, speak, or do anything without prior approval. Ridiculous!!!

    I would like to home school her, but not sure if I could do it. But I will be looking into it though. Would love any suggestions for how to do this.

    • Wolfden
      March 25, 2014

      You can homeschool. There’s tons of curriculum out therebut in the early years learning through playing/doing is especially important. My daughter would have never made it through the current expectations of Kindergarten. Sit for 2.5 hours, no recess it’s not developmentally appropriate. I kept her home until 4th grade when she wanted to try school. She has been blessed with amazing teachers (mostly) that are willing to go the extra mile for their students. She loves school and learning. We did lots of themed units when she was young. Lots of things with pattern blocks. Lots of reading together. We used Starfall on line and the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (she thought this was boring). She did some phonetic workbooks. Lots of grouping and counting with bears, buttons base ten blocks. There’s tons of awesome ideas online.

    • Gretchen
      March 25, 2014

      I am an early childhood educator and I feel like these are completely inappropriate expectations for kindergarteners. There is no way a 5/6 year old could sit for 2.5 hour. They shouldn’t even be expected to sit for an hour without getting up. We are losing sight of so much here! Have policy makers forgotten that pushing more school on kids and taking out things like recess and music and art infact make it more difficult to learn? Kids will start tuning their teachers out! I know I wouldn! Their brains need a break and their bodies need to move!

      • Wolfden
        March 25, 2014

        I don’t think policy makers have any clue what is developmentally appropriate. They want to treat children like goods being manufactured. Education isn’t like building widgets. They don’t all start with the same pieces, they don’t all come together at the same time and they don’t all end up exactly the same. This cookie cutter approach to education will not work. The square pegs will not fit in the round hole. The round pegs won’t fit in the square holes. And the triangle pegs just get lost in the shuffle. Standardized testing is a tool for evaluating learning but it is definitely not the best tool nor is it the only tool. Children need to play to learn. We are going to end up with an entire generation of lost children with the way public education is going. Kids are getting labeled as problems in K (and even PreK) and that will follow them through school even though what they are doing is perfectly developmentally appropriate. A lot of people who have the option are choosing to homeschool or use private school.

    • Jeanette
      March 26, 2014

      Leanne, you can certainly homeschool. I am an educator, but I stayed home with my kids and homeschooled for a few years. First, check into your state laws, then start reading up on it. Homeschooling is very easy when they are little and you can build in lots of play time and explore time. Do what you know is right for your child and your family. Blessings.

    • Sierra Sonners
      April 28, 2014

      This is my 2nd year homeschooling. It is way easier than i thought and so rewarding. I have 5 children ages 9months- 9 years. My best advice figure out what you want your daughter to get out of her education and then find a program or philosophy that fits. I use the Thomas Jefferson Education (TJED) philosophy. It is a leadership education focusing on classics.

    • Jenean
      July 7, 2014

      Never thought I would home school, but we are on our 3rd year and entering 4th grade. Check out hip homeschool moms on Facebook and other great groups like it. Everyone is so supportive and everyday there are posts from many new moms beginning their HS journey. We also joined a Classical Conversations group locally (They are nationwide, I believe), and it has been a Godsend. You can do this!!!

  6. CYNTHIA A. PRIVITERA, RN, BSN,MSN, FNP-BC
    March 24, 2014

    Nursing students answer over 100 questions for their course exit exams and if they do well, only need to answer 85 for a Practical Nursing NCLEX exam to get their license! I went to school in the early 60’s and absolutely loved school with music, art, dancing, etc., after we did our reading, writing, arithmetic, etc., it was our reward, we had windows,doors open for fresh air, recesses, lunch/play time, our teachers were like our Grandmothers. My mother use to have to come in & get me out to come home I would help grade papers, clean, anything. We grew plants from seeds, have a Christmas play every year with the entire city participating, then I moved and it was the new math, schools like bunkers, all indoors, no windows, changing classes, kids were gong steady in 5th grade, I was the 50th kid in what was to be 2 classrooms vs 1, regrouped in 6th grade, then off to Jr. High, HATED EVERY SINGLE DAY & WAS MISERABLE, drugs everywhere, emotional & physical abuse by the teachers & other kids almost 3 years until made new friends and we went on to High school together. I teach, my daughter is earning her degrees, and others in the family. We do not bounce back, I still remember many art projects I did as I wanted to be an artist, all taken away from me by budget cuts, etc.,

  7. Shine
    March 24, 2014

    I grew up in Mexico and in schools they make you test every month then one every three months I think, but the teacher will dictate the questions or give you a printed piece of paper and you had to answer no more than 10 to 20 questions in grades from 1st to 2nd. After that in 3rd grade it was up to 30 questions and so on according to the grade level. This test after the teacher graded the paper, it was sent back to the parent so parents could see where the kid needed help.
    100 questions for a kinderg. Or even 2nd grader, plus done in a computer where kids are not familiar with.. Is retarded!!!! Adults Have Fail !!! POLITICIANS. and their reforms have FAILED!!! Resign and let others give it a try, the more they want to standarize everything and not let the kids shine for they individuality the more far from the truth you are.

  8. SisterMary Margaret
    March 23, 2014

    Perhaps the reason we are not improving in reading can be explained by the push to teach reading earlier and earlier. I believe reading should not be taught until grade one, and only then when a child displays readiness (ability to categorize pictures/symbols, etc.) What are your thoughts on this?

    • seattleducation2010
      March 23, 2014

      That is how they begin a child’s education in Finland, a country that we are compared to in terms of their success at education their children.

      The child starts school later and there is no standardized testing.

      Diane Ravitch states it best in an article that was posted in the Washington Post, Ravitch: Why Finland’s schools are great (by doing what we don’t)

      Here is an excerpt:

      I recently returned from a trip to Europe. In Berlin, I spoke at an international education research conference. Researchers from Europe, Asia, and Latin America were very alarmed by the current “reform” movement in the United States, fearful that the same trends — the same overemphasis of standardized testing, the same push for privatization and markets, and the same pressure to lower standards for entry into teaching — might come to their own countries.

      The highlight of my trip was visiting schools in Finland. Of course, Finland is much in the news these days because of its success on the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) examinations.

      For the past decade, 15-year-old Finnish students have consistently been at or near the top of all the nations tested in reading, mathematics, and science. And just as consistently, the variance in quality among Finnish schools is the least of all nations tested, meaning that Finnish students can get a good education in virtually any school in the nation. That’s equality of educational opportunity, a good public school in every neighborhood.

      What makes the Finnish school system so amazing is that Finnish students never take a standardized test until their last year of high school, when they take a matriculation examination for college admission.

      Their own teachers design their tests, so teachers know how their students are doing and what they need. There is a national curriculum — broad guidelines to assure that all students have a full education — but it is not prescriptive. Teachers have extensive responsibility for designing curriculum and pedagogy in their school. They have a large degree of autonomy, because they are professionals.

      Admission to teacher education programs at the end of high school is highly competitive; only one in 10 — or even fewer — qualify for teacher preparation programs. All Finnish teachers spend five years in a rigorous program of study, research, and practice, and all of them finish with a masters’ degree. Teachers are prepared for all eventualities, including students with disabilities, students with language difficulties, and students with other kinds of learning issues.

      The schools I visited reminded me of our best private progressive schools. They are rich in the arts, in play, and in activity. I saw beautiful campuses, including some with outstanding architecture, filled with light. I saw small classes; although the official class size for elementary school is 24, I never saw a class with more than 19 children (and that one had two assistant teachers to help children with special needs).

      Teachers and principals repeatedly told me that the secret of Finnish success is trust. Parents trust teachers because they are professionals. Teachers trust one another and collaborate to solve mutual problems because they are professionals. Teachers and principals trust one another because all the principals have been teachers and have deep experience. When I asked about teacher attrition, I was told that teachers seldom leave teaching; it’s a great job, and they are highly respected.

      And by the way, the Finnish teachers I saw — those heaped with laurels as outstanding professionals — didn’t look or act differently from many, many teachers I have seen in the United States, even in so-called “failing schools.”

      To read the article in full, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/ravitch-why-finlands-schools-are-great-by-doing-what-we-dont/2011/10/12/gIQAmTyLgL_blog.html.

      Dora

    • Kaylee
      March 24, 2014

      I think kindergarten should go back to what it was when most of us were children: an emphasis on social/emotional skills, a focus on a very narrow academic skill set (recognizing numbers, counting objects, learning color words, learning letters, etc.), and development of gross and fine motor skills.

  9. Steven
    March 23, 2014

    Never mind on my question about K-2 testing in Seattle. I just saw that this is a repost from BTA, so that the testing was likely from another state. Fortunately, Washingtonian K-2 won’t have to go through this.

  10. Barbara
    March 23, 2014

    What I hear from parents is an almost universal condemnation of this practice of putting children under increasing test pressure at younger and younger ages. We know children are growing increasingly stressed and unhealthy as they are denied age appropriate experiences such as play and recess. Yet, I expect a year or two from now I’ll be reading this same story but about preschool. What will stop this trend?

    • seattleducation2010
      March 23, 2014

      What will stop this trend are parents and educators. We have the responsibility to stand up for our children and demand to be at the table when issues of education are decided.

      All of this has been behind the scenes political maneuvering by way of Gates using his money to implement his idea of what is best for the rest of us.

      He spent a lot of money for Governors around the country to approve of his idea and then state legislators. Now that it has been legislated, we have to talk to our legislators, our Governors and State Superintendents and demand that the state laws be repealed and that the next conversation about education needs to include parents, educators and students.

      I appreciate homeschooling but we pay our taxes to have public schools to serve all children equitably. A parent should not have to keep their child at home to ensure them a better education.

      It also comes down to funding so that they are less students in each classroom, adequate resources, books and other materials, art, drama and foreign languages, civics and architecture along with Physical Education and sports, enrichment programs and other after school activities, librarians, nurses and counselors, libraries, wrap around services for children in need and safe/clean learning environments. Most if not all I just described has have been chipped away because of inadequate funding of our public schools along with the longer school year.

      The hundreds of millions of dollars spent and wasted on the effort of implementing one man’s ideas could have been used to benefit so many.

      The big picture is that we have to demand adequate funding of our schools with no strings attached. That’s the baseline. This has to be done Federally and with each state. The Supreme Court of Washington State has determined that it is the duty of our state legislators to adequately fund our schools and they still haven’t done it. That’s appalling. Parents, teachers and concerned citizens need to be calling, mailing and meeting with their representatives and demanding that our schools receive the money they need.

      We need to begin to respect and listen to our educators as professionals who went to school and learned about child development and the skills and art of teaching.

      We have successful programs in every state. We need to learn from those programs and replicate them.

      And, basically, we need to begin a national conversation about what public education needs to be.

      Dora

      • Barbara
        March 24, 2014

        I agree we all need to be active in contacting our legislators. I live in a state that has had this sort of testing for longer than most though and while I support strong public funding of schools, I see fundamental problems that go beyond funding. What is happening is a fundamental misunderstanding of child development and what children need to learn and grow. Much of what is being denied children isn’t more expensive. It is recess at schools that have playgrounds. It is time being read to at schools that have books. It is kindness and respect from teachers who are capable of giving it. Yes, huge problems with class size, but even at schools that have decent class sizes the system is broken because it isn’t starting with an understanding of what is developmentally appropriate for children. Putting more money into the system isn’t the sole fix. The elementary school in my neighborhood has a beautiful and safe playground that sits empty all day long every day as students inside prepare for tests to prove they aren’t behind. Some of that is about funding rewards for school, but just as much is about a fundamental misunderstanding of childhood and learning.

  11. Naomi
    March 23, 2014

    Wow! That is hard core. In Australia we have just recently implemented kindy testing called “Best Start”. Each child sits down individually with their teacher and they have a chat and answer questions with them. It’s very low stress and is meant (I’m not sure how it works in practice…) to help the teachers get a picture of where everyone in their class is placed so they can tailor their learning program to where they are currently on a numeracy and literacy continuum. They aren’t even required to use a pencil – I’m not sure how using a mouse would go! Geez.

    I’m always dubious about these things actually working in practice but the teachers at our school have found it useful and both of my kids thought the special day (a whole day is set aside for it prior to starting school) was fun. Homeschooling is growing in Australia but I can see why it’s such a strong movement in the US if everything is so full on! I don’t know if I could put my kids through that either. My eldest wants to participate in an interschool testing competition and I’m freaked out about that. lol.

    • Alex Darc
      March 24, 2014

      Most schools in the US already do a “Best Start” type of entrance interview for each kindergarten student. This is far more. This is SAT’s (or College Entrance exams) for kindergarteners, and worse, the teacher’s jobs are tied to their students performance.So if you get a high percentage of kids who don’t do well, your job will be in jeopardy.

  12. admintouch
    March 23, 2014

    Reblogged this on Homeschool Potpourri Online and commented:
    Here’s a post on Common Core and the testing involved. Please comment below.

  13. mhorne99
    March 23, 2014

    I find it very interesting that CC has been introduced right around the time many states have decided to allow voucher schools. Yes there are some places that have had them for a while, but many have not. Conspiracy theory….

  14. Ali
    March 23, 2014

    It is true we are lacking behind in the world, I don’t believe the core standards and repetitive testing are the solution — this is not how they do it in the other countries that are doing better. Our teaching style is set up for the 1950’s to train follow the rules factory working type people. we need a fundamental change to project like learning and we need to STOP only teaching to the low middle for goodness sake. Bring back the different level reading groups

    • seattleducation2010
      March 23, 2014

      Ali,

      I assume you are referring to student oriented project-based learning and I agree, that seems to be the best approach to learning; understanding, being engaged and excited about what you are doing.

      Dora

  15. Jamie Hershberger
    March 23, 2014

    I told my daughter (age 10, homeschooled) about this. She said, “why is it called ‘common core’? Shouldn’t it be called ‘hard core’? Mouths of babes…

  16. Ken
    March 23, 2014

    Our sons are 18 & 20, one is a 4.0 gpa student at Ga Tech, the other a 3.97 business student at UGA. The public schools they attended were some of the best available but they could have been better. Too much time was wasted on preparing kids for these tests and too much time was wasted taking them.

    A possible solution is to teach the material, forget the standardized test and stop fudging on grades. If you teach the subjects and stop watering down the grades then the grades they receive will have meaning that can be used for evaluations.

    Stop all this stress testing of children in lower grades. Pre-school should not be about heavy testing or grades. It should be about preparing kids for structured class rooms and making sure they have what they need for 1st grade. Finally, put recess back in for elementary schools. Kids should have an opportunity to be kids and be able to releave energy so they can sit and focus in the classroom.

  17. Reblogged this on ElderofZyklon's Blog!.

  18. Christen
    March 22, 2014

    In Kindergarten, you should be learning how to make fancy macaroni necklaces, why it’s not ok to eat paste, and that coat closets aren’t for peeing your pants.

    • Anonymous
      March 24, 2014

      Amen!

    • Anonymous
      March 24, 2014

      I teach preschool students (ages 3 and 4) in a public school system and we are not even allowed to do that in my classroom… it’s already the common core (and potty training at the same time). This year we are implementing SGO’s AND we had changing tables delivered to each bathroom. Something is wrong with that!

  19. Daria
    March 22, 2014

    As a former 4-8th grade teacher, and currently a mom of a 10 & a 7 year old, this article makes me even more content with the fact that we are a home-schooling family living outside the U.S. What a sad mess.

    • Jamie Hershberger
      March 23, 2014

      Do you still have your US citizenship? Where are you living? I am curious as to homeschooling freedoms outside of the US.

  20. Heather Leigh Honeyman
    March 22, 2014

    And my child with ASD is not allowed any extra help…His teachers said he cried thru the whole test and refused to do any of it.

    • Jamie Hershberger
      March 23, 2014

      I am so sorry. That is infuriating.

    • Alex Darc
      March 24, 2014

      This is disgusting – my son with Asperger’s simply wouldn’t have been able to handle the pressure of the situation. There are other ways to assess progress.

  21. jamie
    March 22, 2014

    I feel like this is an assessment problem, not a “common core” problem. I too am a kinder teacher. I too teach the common core. Our classroom is fun, interactive and the cc standards have only enhanced that. I love the deeper level thinking associated with them for both my students and my own children. My district also uses computerized testing, but it lasts 30 minutes at a time, and happens every other day. We have 1 adult for about every 4 kids and there are no tears. The feedback I get is invaluable. Complain to your district – sounds like they are the ones making it impossible. Not the common core.

    • seattleducation2010
      March 23, 2014

      Focusing on the Common Core issue, the expectation is that teachers across the country, no matter where they are, the conditions of the students or the classroom, the needs of the students and their strengths and weaknesses, are to teach the same material on the same day of every month. The lessons and tests are pre-packaged. The emphasis is on the information the students will be tested on.

      This approach makes it easier for inexperienced teachers such as Teach for America recruits who populate the charter schools to simply follow a prescribed lesson plan with the accompanying tests. This also narrows the subject matter of what is presented in class and does not allow for variation in terms of the potential of the student.

      If you have 1 adult for every 4 children, that’s very good. There might be time then for exploration and fun. That is not how it is in most public schools where there can be from 20 to 30 students with different needs.

      About the assessments you give, you state that there are tests given for 1/2 hour every other day. Is that OK with you?

      If there is one teacher for each 4 students, is an assessment on a computer necessary? Can’t you make your assessment of your kindergartners’ progress by talking to them and looking at their “work” to see if they know their colors, can spell their names and count?

      Dora

      • Sarah
        March 23, 2014

        Seeing the “1 teacher for every 4 students” just reminds me that homeschooling is the right choice for my family:)

      • Debbie
        March 23, 2014

        I agree. I believe observation and keeping anecdotal records of children in younger grades is the best way to assess learning.

      • rcwriter
        March 23, 2014

        On the note of Teach for America, most of those fresh out of college teachers aren’t certified. They are recruited by Teach for America to work as a teacher for a set number of years–usually only about 3, and then they move on to other careers. Teach for America doesn’t create–nor believe in creating–long-term career teachers.

    • Alex Darc
      March 24, 2014

      30 minutes every other day? That is 1.5 hours of computer testing a week for kindergarteners. That is also a big chunk of the full “screen time” recommended by the AAP. Do you let parents know what each kid’s total screentime was that day?

    • Kris
      March 25, 2014

      Jamie —
      Your situation is not at all representative of what most students and teachers are experiencing. I think I could teach just about anything with a ration of one adult for every four students. I have ad classes of up to 35 middle school students, with a total of 160 or more students. It’s just not possible to give students the individual attention they need in a situation like that. I was lucky to have students who were mostly reading at grade level or very close. I have also worked in situations were most students were reading 3-7 years below grade level. It is very difficult to teach students with such vastly different ability levels in one class… add in ELL students, kids from single-parent families, and students with behavior problems and the personal needs of these students become so demanding that getting through the rigorous pre-planned lessons (written AT grade level) is nearly impossible. Many of these canned programs keep teachers from individualizing as they would like (or make it very difficult to do so). Have you ever complained to someone in the school district about the curriculum? Do you know what happens to teachers who do? I do.

  22. Pingback: Education Wonders and Blunders | AsianWeek

  23. Anonymous
    March 21, 2014

    I think you can opt out of any, and all testing. Am I wrong? does anyone know if this is true?

    • seattleducation2010
      March 21, 2014
      • Wolfden
        March 24, 2014

        We can’t opt out (I’m in NC) they aren’t promoted without a certain score on their standardized tests. I’m glad my daughter is entering High School (although we homeschooled in the early years – she started public school in 4th grade and I would bring her home again if she wanted too). My kid is a good tester (she doesn’t get stressed out by tests and performs well) but even she is frustrated by the over emphasis on them.

    • Kris
      March 25, 2014

      In my last school district parents could opt out for their children, but those missing scores counted as zeroes for the teacher and the school. :-(

      • seattleducation2010
        March 26, 2014

        It’s not that simple.

        There are two things in play here.

        First is the Race to the Top funding, something you really don’t want because of the strings that are attached. See The Road Map Project, Race to the Top, Bill Gates and your student’s privacy, https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/the-road-map-project-race-to-the-top-bill-gates-a-national-data-bank-wireless-genand-ferpa/, and CCER, the Road Map Project and the loss of student privacy, https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/a-race-to-the-top-winner-really/.

        Some states are receiving Race to the Top (RTTT) funding because they agreed to the Common Core Standards (CCS). The money is to be spent in a specific manner based on the agreement made between the state and the US Department of Education. If you take a look at the posts I wrote about RTTT money in Seattle, you can see that the money is to go to specific pieces of Arne Duncan’s agenda and is not provided to districts or schools to be used as they think it should be budgeted.

        In that sense, it does not directly affect a school or a teacher.

        What it can affect are the parts of the RTTT that state if a school is at the bottom 5% in terms of test scores, the school is to fire half its staff, fire the principal, close the school, or convert it into a charter school. See A Look at Race to the Top, https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/a-look-at-race-to-the-top/. In NY they want to skip the rest of it and just start converting those schools into charter schools before any remediation is considered.

        It can impact a teacher’s evaluation if the local union has agreed that a certain percentage of each student’s test scores can be used in determining the teachers fate. Some states have demanded 50% of a teacher’s evaluation be determined by test scores. In Seattle they negotiated 10%. 1% is too much for me because of all the factors involved in how well a child tests on a specific day and the intense pressure to focus on teaching to a standardized test but that’s a subject for another conversation.

        Dora

  24. T
    March 21, 2014

    The test is not Common Core, Common Core is only a set of standards.

    • seattleducation2010
      March 21, 2014

      Actually, the Common Core Standards are associated with quite a lot of testing.

      The connection between the Common Core Standards and testing as well as the loss of student privacy is that the Common Core Standards testing consortia, PARCC and SBAC, are funded by the Race to the Top Assessment Grant Program with 360 million dollars for assessment (testing) grants. Race to the Top requires an enormous amount of data mining and gathering of personal information of students. See https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/the-road-map-project-race-to-the-top-bill-gates-a-national-data-bank-wireless-genand-ferpa/.

      Dora

    • JESS
      March 22, 2014

      NOT TRUE ……MY KIDS SCHOOL DOES THIS ..IT IS COMMON CORE ..ITS ALL TESTING BECAUSE ITS SO NEW …THEY EVEN HAD TO DELAY THE TESTS A WEEK , BECAUSE THE TEACHERS WERENT EVEN SURE HOW TO GRADE THEM ……VERY SAD AND UPSETTING

  25. thesierramama
    March 21, 2014

    Reblogged this on I Can't Feel My Brain.

  26. Michelle
    March 21, 2014

    I’m thinking the same thing with Heidi Shelter. My son starts Kinder in the Fall and I am scared to death to send him. As his mom, I don’t even ask him 100 in a day. Being shoved in a classroom with 40 plus students and one teacher. This is nuts. Bill Gates needs to stay away no matter what part he has in it. I think for people who don’t have children should never have a chance to make decisions for us or our kids. Stuff like this makes me want to pack our bags and get out of US.

  27. Anonymous
    March 21, 2014

    How can they interface with machines when they’re just learning to interface with living things? This sounds suspiciously like creating a society solely based on technology, not cooperation and interaction.

    • seattleducation2010
      March 21, 2014

      Gates had a lot of input into CCSS and the assessing of students besides the $300M in cash that he’s sunk into his next big idea. I think his proclivity towards interacting with machines rather than humans may have something to do with the reliance on computers. Also his company stands to benefit financially.

      • Anonymous
        March 21, 2014

        Gates has 2 billion dollars worth of input investing in this destructive, expensive, snake oil.

    • Mary Twomey
      March 21, 2014

      I agree with your comment. I have three children ages 22, 18 and 8. When my 8 year old entered Kindergarten I heard the school had I-touches for each child in K to use. I thought this was ridiculous. The children were only in class for 2.5 hours per day. I sent my kid to learn to take human directions from a teacher and to learn social interaction in a more formal setting than the neighborhood. I told the teacher that my child was not to use any computer device in school. Thankfully she honored it and the I-touches never came out for the class. Now everything is turning to web-based learning and testing. By next spring my district will be completely web based. SOOOOO SAD for these kids and this world.

      • Chris Laureano
        May 14, 2014

        Just out of curiosity Mary, what school district is this taking place, and what state?

  28. Jennifer
    March 21, 2014

    This is NOT Common Core! This is some person, who is not an educator, who thinks this is the best way to assess Common Core. In WV we don’t assess K-2 except with anecdotal records and we put play back in K. Common Core is not the problem. The problem lies with companies trying to profit off of the “new” standards. They are not actually new, they have just been condensed and moved to more appropriate age levels. If you take time to study the standards, most of the K ones say “orally” or with direction. They are not supposed to be written except for the “I can write…” ones.

    • seattleducation2010
      March 21, 2014

      Actually, the Common Core Standards are tied to a battery of tests including this field test that is happening in several states.

      It might not be happening in your state now, but it will.

      There is a connection between the CCSS and the testing consortia PARCC and SBAC. These two consortia are funded by the Race to the Top Assessment Grant Program with 360 million dollars for assessment (testing) grants. The consortia applied for the grant funds to develop assessments for a common set of standards adopted by the states.

      Any student subjected to the CCSS will also be subjected to a round of testing each year.

      Your state might have opted out of the PARCC or SBAC consortia. If so, consider yourself and your students very fortunate. You might be even more fortunate if yor state opted out of the CCSS altogether and you only need to go by a state standard that was developed by educators and not others with business interests along with those who have no experience in the field of education.

      Also, the Universal Pre-K program that is being pushed by the money changers will also include a “Kindergarten Readiness” assessment that is actually a test.

      Dora

      • Onyxmom
        March 22, 2014

        The term “kindergarten readiness assessment” is ridiculous. I know I am a dinosaur, but isn’t kindergarten where kids are supposed to learn the social and BASIC academic skills to make them ready for school? A test to see if these children are ready to get ready for school is a shameful waste of resources and will most assuredly turn kids off to school & learning.

    • seattleducation2010
      March 21, 2014

      I just looked into West Virginia and this is what I found:

      WV Against the Common Core, http://wvagainstcommoncore.wvconstitutionaladvocates.com/.

      WV Against Common Core Facebook page:

      https://www.facebook.com/pages/WV-Against-Common-Core/359684890815537

      West Virginia GOP Stands Against Common Core State Standards:

      http://truthinamericaneducation.com/common-core-state-standards/west-virginia-gop-stands-against-common-core-state-standards/

      and

      House members take a step back from Common Core:

      http://www.statejournal.com/story/24663278/house-members-take-a-step-back-from-common-core

      Any more thumbs up on your comment?

    • gennieleko
      March 22, 2014

      If a standard is “consistent guidelines for what every student should know and be able to do” as the CC website defines them then we have a problem. In K there are several that say “With guidance and support.” (LACC.K.L.3.5, LACC.K.RL.1.2, LACC.K.RL.1.3, LACC.K.RL.2.6, LACC.K.RL.3.7, LACC.K.RL.3.9, LACC.K.RI.1.1, LACC.K.RI.1.2, LACC.K.RI.1.3, LACC.K.RI.2.4, LACC.K.RI.3.7, LACC.K.RI.3.8, LACC.K.RI.3.9) If a child needs assistance to complete the task it’s not a standard by that definition is it? The flaws in the K standards don’ t stop there though. I’m not sure what LACC.K.L.3.6 actually means and that’s why I can’ t consider “Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts.” as a standard. Are they looking for the ability to speak or what? LACC.K.RL.2.4 says “Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.” How do you compel a 5 year old to ask a question? It’s not a standard. How is LACC.K.RL.4.10 ” Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.” a standard? This is a technique not a standard. LACC.K.RI.2.6 lack’s clarity when it says “Name the author and illustrator of a text and define the role of each in presenting the ideas or information in a text.” LACC.K12.R.4.10 is “Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.” It’s an ill defined blob, not a standard. LACC.K.L.3.4 b. might be the best K standard in my book. “Use the most frequently occurring inflections and affixes (e.g., -ed, -s, re-, un-, pre-, -ful, -less) as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word”. Really? The authors clearly don’t know 5 year olds or they fail to understand the complexity of the English language. I tried this one out for kicks with my K twins at the end of last year and the results were hysterical. Recess, relax, replay and understand all popped up rather quickly as did rio, wreath, pretty and pretend. I can’t imagine how the same exercise would go in a classroom but I have seen some funny accounts from teachers online. There are many standards in K that need better definition. They are tons of examples of empty skills rather than standards. They are so cloudy and ambiguous I don’t know how they could be tested but they are.

      Please don’t insinuate that we don’t know what a standard is or that we have not taken the time to study the Common Core standards. MANY of us have. I can’t say a thing about the educational system in WV but I can see what has changed in the two elementary schools that my children attend over the past two years. This is wrong.

  29. minnehanh
    March 21, 2014

    What nonsense. Kindergarten is the time to be learning to work and play with others, to share, to learn how to put things together and take them apart, to be compassionate, to be enthusiastic about school. Looks like all of that is being killed off. And we wonder why we have so many socialization problems in middle and high school….this is where it starts. Just the idea of 100 questions is ludicrous. I won’t even ask if kindergarten teachers help to design the test because I know the answer to that one.

    • Alex Darc
      March 24, 2014

      We are in Massachusetts, and my son’s school had none of those things in K. It was all move to the next station and get the work done. My son called it a learning factory. He needed the social aspect of school, but there was no social interaction allowed at the learning factory. That was in 2008, my daughter who went to same school in 2002 and the factory approach was already in the works, though they at least still had toys and play in the classroom.

  30. BigSean
    March 21, 2014

    This is what people like Arne Duncan, Barack Obama, John King and Andrew Cuomo want for YOUR kids and MY kids but not for THEIR kids. Wonder why?

  31. Heidi Shetler
    March 21, 2014

    This is unbelievable my daughter will be starting Kindergarten in the fall. If this is what she has to look forward to then I might as well homeschool her where she can learn her ABC’s and 123’s like a 5 year old should.

    • seattleducation2010
      March 21, 2014

      Kindergarten should be a time to foster the fun of learning. A time of exploration and the reinforcement that learning can be fun and lead to a joy of life long learning experiences.

      I had that and fortunately, so did my daughter. We both relish reading, learning, developing as individuals and enjoying the process.

      Dora

    • theholtgirls
      March 22, 2014

      You have already taught your 5yo daughter to chew food, sit in a chair, choose the blue shirt or the green one, pick up her toys, answer or look at you when you call her name… You were her first teacher, and will always be her best teacher. Why not keep on?

      Teach her the name of the letters in her name, what sound(s) the letters can make. Count the letters. Write the letters on paper in front of her. Write the letters with her finger in a pan of dry rice. Write the letters on her back with your finger. Have her point to the letter she feels you “write” on her back. :) What is another word she wants to know?

      OK… if you send her to start kindergarten in the fall anywhere else but home, she would now be completely bored until December!

      In what state do you live? Homeschooling really is this easy! <3 You'll love it! <3

    • Catrina
      March 23, 2014

      I chose to keep my now 6 year old out of school and home-school him. It was the best decision I have ever made. He is my youngest of 6 children, and he will never see the inside of a school for this reason. I feel that if I am able to teach my children to walk, talk, eat, dress themselves etc…that I can teach them how to read, write, and do math. So far, my 6 year old is on a roll! He is very smart, and learning at his pace. Makes for a very happy child!!

  32. John Young
    March 21, 2014

    Reblogged this on Transparent Christina.

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This entry was posted on March 20, 2014 by in Common Core Standards, High Stakes Testing and tagged , .
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