Thursday, May 17, 2012

What Real People Think about State Exams

In my experience, at least, teachers can run in somewhat isolated social circles; i.e. many of our friends and relatives are also teachers.  But I have the great fortune to be married to a real person non-teacher, Mr. Eyre, who nevertheless possesses a great deal of forbearance when it comes to my willingness to discuss the absurdities of my profession.

A few days ago, we were listening to WNYC covering the scoring of the state ELA and math exams, and we had this conversation:

WNYC ANNOUNCER: Because of cuts in state funding, there was no money available to pay teachers overtime to score the exams, so teachers were removed from classrooms for days at a time to score the exams at central locations.

MR. EYRE: So the state exams get scored by teachers?

MISS EYRE: Yes.  Remember when I had to go out and score the exams, when I taught middle school?

MR. EYRE: Oh, right, I remember that.  But they used to pay overtime?

MISS EYRE: Yeah.  To get them scored faster, I guess.  Teachers would come in after school and on weekends and get per session for grading.  But I guess they can't afford to do that anymore.

MR. EYRE: So let me get this straight.  You have to work really hard to make these kids pass these tests, and if you get behind, someone yells at you, and if too many kids fail it's your fault...and then they pull you out of the classroom for a week to grade the exams?

MISS EYRE: So far, so good.

MR. EYRE: What are the kids doing while you're away?

MISS EYRE: They have substitutes.

MR. EYRE: So basically, nothing.

MISS EYRE: It depends.

MR. EYRE: I was in school once.  I remember.

MISS EYRE: Well, yes, it's hard to have continuity and consistency with a sub, no matter how good they are.

MR. EYRE: Wow.  These people in charge of the exams really care about kids.

blog comments powered by Disqus