Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hey Dad, we did not have P.E. today.

The other day at dinner my son, who is in second grade, informed us that he did not have “P.E.” today. A typical boy, he was not happy about this cancellation of his favorite time of day.   He told us his class went to the computer lab to take a test on physical education and said that the other “P.E. teacher” ran the class.  My wife and I, both educators, knew what my son had experienced today: a pre-assessment as part of the evaluation of his Phys Ed teacher. Our initial reaction was to laugh sarcastically at the thought of a multiple choice Phys Ed test given on a computer. But this assessment process is not funny. I wrote about this insane method of evaluating teachers here.

We knew this was the SLO pre-assessment because the teachers had to swap classes.  My children’s school district has interpreted the dizzying array of rules coming from Albany as a teacher cannot be in the same room as their students for any assessment used to provide a teacher evaluation score.  A facebook post recently commented that schools across New York State get a different answer depending on which day of the week you call.  Frankly, the incompetence of the state ed folks would be laughable if our children’s education and the careers of dedicated teachers were not in jeopardy.

We opted out our children from all mandated testing this year, including the pre-assessments. The school has honored our opt-out request for the time being.  The school did not inform the special area teachers and we did not think to touch base with the art,music and phys ed teachers, so my son had to take this ridiculous exam.

I decided to get to bottom of this and have requested to see the test my son’s class took to evaluate their teacher.  No word yet, from the school. I spoke at last night’s school board meeting requesting that parents be informed about ALL mandated testing.  The only mandated assessments that we hear about are the spring state exams.  If parents knew how much time was lost to testing in the name of teacher evaluation and student data collection they would be shocked.