Teacher’s Sarcastic Letter To Delaware DOE Is The Win Of The Week!

Even though this made the rounds on social media, my guess is many of you have not seen it. I am also keeping the teacher’s name anonymous. But in reality this could have been written by just about any teacher in Delaware. It is something they all think. They all believe the façade of standardized testing is a complete and utter waste of time.  Here we are, three years after the Smarter Balanced Assessment came out, and we are still putting children through this ridiculous dog and pony show.  The needle hasn’t moved.  But now the Social Studies and Science assessments based on these almighty standards are here.  Praise the corporate education Gods!  We now have more data to give to the hedge fund managers and those who seek to profit off children!  Yes, let us all bow down to the phony corporations that have taken over state governments with their lobbying and dollars to have kids treated like cattle being led to the slaughter.  Because this is progress…

Delaware Department of Education:

As I sit here contemplating my umpteenth week of testing, and I am not halfway through, I wanted to take a minute and thank you.

Why?
Here are the reasons.

1. I want to thank you for understanding that my students need an education and only forgiving one of the snow days, instead of all four. I am quickly planning engaging lessons that my students will be very involved in during those final three days of school.

2. I want to thank you for testing an entire year’s worth of content beginning in the third marking period, when the content has not been completely covered. I truly love a challenge.

3. I want to thank you for making the last two months of school routine-less as my students are testing for this and that and being pulled at all times. I don’t often have a whole class with me to cover new material, but as I said before I love a challenge.

4. I want to thank you for taking away the Social Studies standardized test last year as a gift and then providing us with another test this year. I was worried we were going to be down a test.

5. I want to thank you for testing Social Studies again because with all of the mandatory extra reading/math interventions I rarely have time for teaching it. (I also want to say thank you for creating a test that doesn’t technically cover the curriculum we teach in class; that is ingenious!)

6. I want to thank you for spending many dollars on tests that make my students cry and get angry and frustrated. I want to thank you for spending this money on tests that make me doubt myself as an educator.

7. I also want to thank you for realizing that it is completely acceptable to lose weeks of instructional time due to time-consuming testing but simply wrong to accept nature as an excuse to lose instructional time.

Thirty Years Ago… 1987

 

1987.  The year of Glasnost and Oliver North.  My junior and senior years of high school.

I look back to 1987 as a pivotal year in my existence.  For a teenager, there were some pretty major events in my life that year.

The biggest was my first grandparent passing.  My paternal grandmother died of cancer in the Fall of ’87 and it shook me up.

Another big thing was something called “Emmaus”.  This was a church retreat through my Catholic church in Ridgefield, CT.  For first-time Emmaus attendees, you were a candidate.  Those who had already been on these weekends were the workers who ran the whole thing.  I was a candidate in February of ’87 and got to work on the Liturgy team on a weekend in September of ’87.  This was a life-changing experience for me in a lot of ways.  I had always been somewhat religious, but this cemented it for a long time.  As well, I lived in New York but a part that was very close to the border of Connecticut.  I could walk through the woods behind some neighbor’s house and be in CT.  As a result of Emmaus, I met many wonderful new friends including one of my best friends in high school.  I spent a lot of time in Ridgefield, more than hanging out with people from my own high school.

I had four jobs that year.  The first was working for a comic book price guide in Ridgefield.  The owner of that magazine was also a co-owner of a comic book story in Danbury, CT so I would help out up there at times.  That summer I worked at Smith Ridge Market, the local grocery store.  I was “poached” by the nearby Vista Pharmacy in late summer and worked there the rest of the year.  I always worked throughout high school.

I didn’t get my driver’s license until after high school but I managed to take Driver’s Ed in the fall of 1987.  That made for some interesting rides.  I still remember the instructor having to hit the brake pedal on the passenger side as I was driving.

What I remember the most about 1987 was the music.  I wrote about 1986 last year, but 1987 just added to the list of alternative bands I discovered that year.  Bands like 10,000 Maniacs, Crowded House, Echo & The Bunnymen, Aztec Camera, and Erasure.  Bands I enjoyed before only got bigger, such as The Smiths, New Order, The Cure, Alphaville, INXS, R.E.M., Gene Loves Jezebel, The Housemartins, and Depeche Mode.  U2 had their biggest album to date with “The Joshua Tree”.  Rush had an awesome album that year and I got to see them in New Haven, CT that November.  For me, the best album of the year was New Order’s “Substance”.  That Christmas, a bunch of bands contributed to an album called “A Very Special Christmas” which I still listen to every year around this time.

There was a freak ice storm in early October that year.  It knocked out power in a lot of areas around us.  But the real “white-out” happened in the summer but I’ll hold on to that one!

The Yankees were my team and I saw them a few times that year.  Don Mattingly was my hero! The New York Giants won their first Super Bowl that year, beating the Denver Broncos in a close game.

There weren’t a lot of memorable movies that year.  The #1 grossing movie was “Three Men And A Baby” which tells you something right there.  I would say my favorite movies that year were “The Lost Boys”, “The Untouchables”, “Good Morning Vietnam”, and “Innerspace”.

In my family, the dynamics changed a bit.  Two brothers went to college and a third returned home for a bit after graduating college.  The youngest (me) and the oldest in the house.  That was different, but fun!

I spent a lot of time cycling into Ridgefield that year after school when I wasn’t working.  It kept me in shape but it was usually to go see about a girl.  True story!  The late days of Spring and early Summer were spent at “The Reservoir”, a local spot where a bunch of us would jump off a cliff and rope-swing.  I tried my first cigar that year.  I learned quickly I don’t like cigars.

I started “clubbing” at a place called Kryptons that year.  A friend of mine who bartended there would always help me get in.  Those were crazy times with my friend Pete.  I spent a lot of time “partying” that year.  I was young, crazy, and a bit wild.  I remember after my grandmother passed, one of my cousins got married.  I had a few at the wedding reception and somehow I wound up on stage singing Michael Sembello’s “Maniac”.  Not one of my prouder moments for sure!

I was in a school play called “The Boyfriend” that year.  I was an Assistant Stage Director for the school’s annual “Variety Show”.  My favorite classes were AP American History and Creative Writing.

I got my wisdom teeth out that Spring and a couple of weeks later managed to get a sausage seed stuck in one of the sockets.  Now that was pain!

That fall, the beginning of the end of the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia was starting.  We all tuned in to see if Jessica McClure could get out of that well.  Pope John Paul the II came to New York City. That summer, daytime tv was hijacked by the Iran-Contra hearings with Oliver North famously pleading the 5th Amendment. I was still creating pinball games on our Commodore 64 on snow days.

1987 was the height of my teenage years.  The best of times before the “real world” fully kicked in.