In Grumpy Old Teacher’s (GOT) district, we use Microsoft in all its iterations including Teams. Google Classroom is banned no matter how much an individual teacher may like it better. Teachers wind up belonging to many teams on Teams, first all their classes, then a school team, a tech team, extracurricular teams, testing teams, the list goes on. GOT’s district departments under the label of Academic Services also provides teams for each content area.

With so many places for people to post, ask questions, whatever … hilarity often ensues. In GOT’s district, that took place in the secondary math team recently.

Someone questioned why, since they already had to give children a progress monitoring test for the state (PM) and another progress monitoring test for the district (PMA), that they had to give a third progress monitoring test using a vendor program purchased and pushed on them by the district. The complaint was driven by an admission that the teacher was already behind on the curriculum, so why oh why, did they have to lose six instructional days for three tests that all do the same thing?!

Like Groucho Marx, GOT’s eyebrows did that upward twitch. LOL OMG, did someone really put themselves out there and become a target?

It’s not wise to post questions like this in official district channels. Save it for social media in private channels that the district cannot follow.

Nevertheless, a district specialist answered. Specialists are people with little power but they gave up on the classroom and found a niche from which they can continue to draw a teacher-level paycheck while the district high honchos often expect high levels of work hours from them. Think Elon Musk and his hardcore demand of the people he allowed to keep a Twitter job.

In essence, the teacher was told that the state did not report data (test results) by benchmark and the district did not allow teachers to review questions with students and analyze why students chose wrong answers; therefore, a third test was needed so teachers could look at the questions, go over them with students, and look at what wrong answer was most often chosen and why it was wrong.

Reread that paragraph carefully. Ha, ha, ha, did a district employee just admit what we always knew?! That state and district tests have little value for the classroom teacher. Their tests tell us nothing except that our schools no longer focus on what students need. It’s about the data. Students are nothing more than dogs running around a track for the bettors and the house who sets the odds so that it always wins.

Once the greyhound no longer can place reliably, the racing/betting industry has no more use for them and is ready to dump them into the street.

We always had a strong intuition that state and district tests were useless, but we never expected someone to admit it.

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