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No Grandparent Left Behind - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
No Grandparent Left Behind
While hanging out in the lobby of the Hotel Bethlehem, Skylar has been subjecting her grandmother to a barrage of tests, most of them revolving around feats of memory recall complicated by the fact that the past they are meant to summon keeps changing at my eight-year-old girl's whim. "Are those flowers over there real or fake, Grandma?," Bean asks. But whatever response my mother gives, the answer seems to be, "Wrong!" I can't help but think that this play-acting, though building on years of what we refer to as "torturing Grandma," has been inflected by the difficult first two months of third grade, during which the preparations for the AIMS test, one of those state-mandated exams bound up with the No Child Left Behind regulations, have weighed heavily on her young and previously school-loving mind. Indeed, I just asked Skylar, "Are you subjecting Grandma to these tests as a way of processing your recent experiences in school," and she replied, "Yes." Then she informed me that, "The lowest score is -10. And guess what Grandma got: -10." My conclusion? Testing may not make you any smarter, but it sure does make you spend more of your time thinking about testing.

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8 comments or Leave a comment
bitterlawngnome From: bitterlawngnome Date: October 20th, 2007 04:57 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Will this be on the exam?
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 21st, 2007 12:57 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
duccio From: duccio Date: October 20th, 2007 04:58 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Every Bush policy has "supposedly" unintended consequences (if we had known then what we know now). I think he is the perfect dictator. Nothing he and his cronies initiate seems to be free of coercion and negative ulterior motive.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 21st, 2007 12:58 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
It sure does seem that way. But at least we can blame global warming on Al Gore, who invented it along with the internet. . .
elf_owl From: elf_owl Date: October 21st, 2007 01:08 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Testing didn't start with Bush. I was traumatized by the damn standardized tests everyone had to pass in school, even though I aced them all, because of the stress put on them.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 21st, 2007 05:05 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Oh, I know. It's just that things have gotten more and more test-fixated.
_luaineach From: _luaineach Date: October 20th, 2007 06:12 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Arizona schools are constantly fighting the battle of being some of the worst in the nation, so I'm not surprised you guys got AIMS pressure -- that school district rightfully tauts itself the best of a a very bad lot, hence the compromises people make to get in. Our AIMS prep didn't even cause a ripple as far as I could see -- hard to make a bunch of kids operating in a performance-grade-less system see it as anything but yet another personal game.

Sorry Skylar had such a rough time of it, and that's she's still decompressing. :(
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 21st, 2007 01:02 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Yes, the merits of a school like Jet's are coming into sharper relief as we get further in the public school system. I'm not sure she'd do well in that kind of environment, but it's clear that the present one, despite a number of strong virtues, is less sanguine than I'd initially believed. I always regarded standardized tests as personal games up until I took the PSAT, perhaps because no one seemed to care about the results that much. And I did well and generally enjoyed them. But when the pressure to do well on the PSAT manifested itself, I got panicky about the math, which was my weaker subject, and ended up skipping a bubble and therefore getting almost everything afterwards wrong. As far as I can tell, though, Skylar is already feeling that pressure from within the school. Sigh.
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