Friday, January 31, 2014

Shut Up And Teach

I am getting sick and tired of the constant whining about Oklahoma's Superintendent of Education and her alleged tyrannical power over Oklahoma schools. This week a candidate for the superintendent's job put out a press release officially announcing her entering the race in which she said she wants to end the "tyrannical reign."  this could also be termed "reign of terror."

The latest attack from the whiner in chief, Jarod Mendenhall, superintendent of Broken Arrow Schools, is over a practice test to check the efficacy of the vendors testing systems. Last year Mendenhall and the various superintendents were whining and complaining after the testing systems failed miserably. So how does one test the workability of any system; with a practice run or test. In order to check these systems a wide sample is needed and the state dept. decided to make all schools participate. Mendenhall in a letter on the BA Schools website called it a “FAKE TEST.” No, Mr. Mendenhall, it is a real test of the system using real questions. Just because the answers do not count does not make it fake. The test is not of the students it is of the system.

As one listener to the program put it, “is a practice SAT exam a fake test?” No it is a practice test. Billions of dollars are made in practice courses and TESTS from LSAT to GRE and many more such tests. Why, if they do not count do young people pay good money to take those? I am in the insurance industry and have to take Continuing Education courses and exams every few years as do accountants, lawyers, doctors and on and on. Hmm, I wonder if teachers do as well? If not they should be required also. But I digress. In those professions we have many practice tests before we take the final one that counts. We do not consider those as FAKE.

I would think that the school administrations would be glad to have their students take these tests, not only to determine the efficacy of the system, but also to give an idea of what the students will be faced with in the end of year exams. Mendenhall and other superintendents should welcome and appreciate the opportunity for their students to have a practice run before the real exams in a few months.
Ultimately this is not about the tests at all. What it is really about is that the education establishment does not like the state superintendent. From day one they have worked against her. On day one there was a stink about her staffing, then went on to one thing after another.
I believe that true educators concerned about their students learning would not be deterred or bothered by any of these things. They would focus on teaching their students and let the rest take care of itself. How is it that the greatest minds the world has ever known thrived in one room school houses or under mere home schooling? I think that Mr Mendenhall and others like him may need a remedial course in what education is really about and how it is accomplished. Maybe then they will stop whining and complaining about things that have very little to do with actual classroom instruction and more to do with funding, administration and staffing. 
To borrow from Laura Ingraham “Shut Up and Teach!!”


Blogger Iftekhar Ahmed said...

I must appreciate the way you have expressed your feelings through your blog!
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10:58 PM  

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