Thursday, February 07, 2013

In Which the DOE Shows Its Appreciation

I spent several days over at Bayside High School reading English Regents exams. I was entrusted with this task because I knew none of the kids whose papers I graded, and therefore was not prejudiced. I was "disinterested," which is apparently a desirable quality in a teacher nowadays. Because I did not care one way or another about the kids whose papers I read, my keen eye was somehow more accurate.

Thank you for your time and effort in serving as a scorer for Regents Distributed Scoring. Your commitment contributed to the scoring of approximately 220,000 exams across this city.

If you have any feedback about the process, please let your principal know.

Thank you.

Office of Assessment

New York City Department of Education

I'm particularly interested in that last sentence. They appreciate my commitment, but they're letting me know they don't want to hear from me. And what can I tell my principal? What difference would it make to him if the kids from school X wrote great essays, or if the kids from school Y wrote poor ones? He's probably concerned with the kids from our school.

Here's what I would tell him---the kids I know best attend our school. I've been reading their papers since the day they arrived here. I know them better than the strangers on the other side of town and I can assess their work better than any "disinterested" party ever could. If I can't make decisions about them because, yes, I care about them, then it's time to take children away from their parents.

Clearly parents care about their kids and want the best for them. By the preposterous logic of NY State, kids ought to be shuttled off to strangers who are "disinterested." And that's what I'd like to tell the DOE.

But they've clearly told me they don't want to hear about it. They're far too busy putting "Children First, Always," to bother listening to the voices of their teachers.
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