Susan Ohanian of EDDRA writes : ” Last year I read the frustrated exam of a Vermont teen who, although he has an IEP, was forced to sit through the NECAP. Here’s part of his response to the writing test. He did not delete any part of his expletives.
‘You f—ing a—holes I have been taking these f—ing tests since first grade and I am f—ing sick of it. I know I can’t spell and you know I can’t spell. I have more important things to do than this bulls— test.’ Six pages of expletives and rage and pain and mourning for lost learning.
He was suspended, and missed the test to qualify as a lumberjack given the following day– and forfeited the $500 test fee.
One size does NOT fit everybody. Why are we so determined to ruin the lives of so many? ”
AGE OF ADMISSION
It was the first day of the school year in Queensland. A mother had taken her child to school but enrolment was refused because his birthday was 1 March. In those days, a child had to be five years of age by the last day in February. She railed about it and subsequently telephoned the Minister’s office. She was put through to Jack Cooper, Deputy Director of Primary Education to give him an earful. “My child was born in Victoria, during Daylight Saving Time, just before 1 a.m. on 1 March. If he had been born in your stupid bloody state, he would have been able to start school today!”
TEACHING IN THE BUSH
Three young teachers at Normanton State Primary school were anxious to get home to their family and girl friends for the two-week August vacation. They head south through Julia Creek along the dirt road and arrived at Kynuna during the night. For fuel, they had to divert from their road up the Cloncurry Road which joined it outside Kynuna. They drove about 1 km back up the Cloncurry Road to re-fuel at the hotel. After refuelling and a round of drinks, they went to the car and changed drivers. The new driver, knowing that they had done a u-turn outside the pub, did a u-turn to compensate and headed….for Cloncurry. Nobody noticed and, after some tyre-trouble arrived at Cloncurry as the sun came up. They had to turn around and re-trace their dusty steps over 180 kms. to Kynuna. The unnecessary 360 kms added to the usual 2310 kms from Normantion to home-town Brisbane.
There is little doubt that young single teachers serving in remote areas deserve large pure gold medals for every year of service there.
FOUR WAY TEST
It’s an educational decision-making template based on the Rotary Four Way Test.
1. Does it help children to learn better ?
2. Does it help teachers to teach better ?
3. Does it economise on efforts in the teaching/learning act ?
4. Does it provide the greatest good for the greatest number ?
Converted from its Rotarian base to a practical school-use model for decision-making by the Primary Division of the Queensland Education Department, these statements were framed and hung above the area where it’s senior officers met to share and decide upon matters of importance.. The constant and sometimes fierce contest of demands, especially those of the financial kind, made it necessary to indicate its strictures from time to time. It proved invaluable.
Years later and in retirement, the author visited the office of a School Principal in another state and there was the same school-based Four Way Test on display. The principal was asked as to its orgin and he replied that he did not know. It had been left there by one of his predecessors and he was impressed by its usefulness. Felt good.
It was 1970. I was visiting St. Phillip & James, an outstanding Primary School in down-town Oxford, England. When I entered the office, the principal and two other lady teachers were on the floor selecting some teaching aids from a number of magazines scattered on the floor. We conversed as they went about their task. I couldn’t see a time-table anywhere and asked, “At what time of the day do you teach the various subjects ? Do you teach Maths in the morning…?”
I was cut short, by the three, almost in unison, “We don’t teach subjects. We teach children.”
Ouch. I deserved it.