Louisiana schools go into lockdown in a couple of weeks when the GEE (Graduation Exit Examination) is administered. This is a time of stress for core teachers, so much stress that I understand why it is called the LEAP test: This is the time of year when the madness of standardized tests cause teachers to leap from windows, or to drink themselves senseless, or to graze on grass like Nebuchadnezzar in the book of Daniel.
As we teach to the test blind—for teachers are not allowed to look at a test, ask a student about a test, or listen to students talk about a test—and the state provided materials are woefully inadequate, teachers are required by the pharoahs of the State to make bricks without straw. As the apathy of this lost generation of students thickens, and the poison of ignorance spreads through their veins, teachers know what administrators do not: You can’t cure the condition of the patient by ultimatums or wishful positive thinking.
We were asked in a meeting if we really thought all kids could learn. Of course, the teacher/correct answer is “yes.” But I didn’t raise my hand in agreement. The question is loaded, an oversimplification, a fallacy in itself. There have to be some qualifications discussed. One thing is sure: The way students are now, and the way we’re trying to teach them–some of them are not learning anything.