Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Taxing TAKS

I've not met a teacher who enjoys administering or proctoring a TAKS test. The teacher can do nothing but "actively monitor" the students the entire time of the test and students are given "all the time they need" to finish a test that is supposed to be over basic skills.  It makes for a very long, boring and unproductive day.

This year's TAKS testing seemed worse because we are all operating under the shadow of the budget cuts.  Conversations in between picking up materials and grabbing lunch all seem to steer back to speculation about how many teachers we will lose and what our schools will be like in the post-budget cut era of Texas public education.

The mood turned somber as the day ended and I learned we will be losing several of our most experienced teachers who have chosen to take the "buy out."  I don't blame them.  If I were in a position close to retirement or had another source of income secured, I would probably do the same.  As is the case with these types of things, it's the students who will suffer in the end.  They will be the ones crammed in overcrowded rooms, with overworked and inexperienced teachers who have been left behind to try and scratch out some semblance of the caliber of learning that has been the culture of our building.

A day that started earlier than most, ended later than most.  Exhausted from the long day of testing, three of us lingered behind reflecting on the good old days.  We talked about getting through these hard times and the possibility of starting our own school.  We parted with a little bit of hope that we might have one last go at it in us.

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