It’s Almost OUR Season, Baby!

By February 1, 2017 Uncategorized No Comments

It’s time for the Super Bowl, baby. Let’s get EXCITED!

Millions of Americans are eagerly anticipating the 51st edition of the Super Bowl this Sunday. It’s projected that nearly 120 million people will view Super Bowl VI worldwide.

The NFC’s Atlanta Falcons come in around a three-point underdog against the AFC’s New England Patriots, who are making their seventh appearance in the big game under Coach Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. (Sorry, I refuse to make any juvenile jokes about Tom’s under-inflated balls here – it’s just too easy.)

At its most basic level, the Super Bowl is the game that determines the NFL championship. But we know it is much, much more than just a football game.

Super Bowl Sunday has become an unofficial holiday in the United States, a day when families and friends gather to watch the game, enjoy the over-the-top commercials, eat lots of unhealthy snacks and watch star-studded musical acts at halftime.

The game and the preceding two weeks of hype, parties, and media events have turned the Super Bowl into a spectacle along the lines of the Olympics or Soccer World Cup, a Royal wedding, or the Oscars.

Many professional football players view the opportunity to play in a Super Bowl as the pinnacle moment in their career. Winning or losing at this level is an experience that could bless or haunt a man for the rest of his life. Careers are literally on the line.

And, make no mistake, the Super Bowl is BIG business!

In 2017, the NFL is now a 13 billion dollar a year industry!  Moreover, according to Forbes, which recently released its annual ranking of the most valuable franchises in the National Football League—the most lucrative sports league in the world—the average value of an NFL team is now 2.34 billion, an increase of a whopping 22 percent over the previous season.

How about this? The rate charged to sponsors for a 30-second commercial for this year’s football game is $5 million, which translates to about $166,000 per second!

Simply put, the Super Bowl is a huge game involving money, gambling, profits, losses, winners, and losers!

Of course, you know what season immediately follows the final game of the NFL football season, right?

While it thankfully does not last as long as the NFL season, it is an annual event that is also highly anticipated and serious business for the participants.

It’s the SHI*T!

Behind the scenes, millions of children in America have already begun practicing for the 16th edition of the Super Highly Important Testing (SHI*T) Bowl (XVI) that begins in a little over two months. Nearly 30 million students and two million educators are scheduled to participate in the BIG “game” this year.

It’s OUR season now, baby! Bring on the SHI*T.

At its most basic level, the Super Highly Important Testing Bowl is a game that seeks to rank and sort students, teachers, and schools into winners and losers. Yet, we know it is much, much more than just a testing game.

Since the passage of NCLB in 2001, the SHI*T season has become an official rite-of-passage for students in the United States, a time when meaningful teaching and learning is suspended for several weeks each spring in order to assess how well children can correctly bubble in answers on a standardized test.

The SHI*T Bowl and the weeks of intense test prep, ridiculous testing pep assemblies, annual test administrator meetings and incalculable hours spent on testing logistics have turned the Super Highly Important Testing Bowl into an experience for many students and teachers along the lines of a root canal, a fist fight, your parents divorcing, a kick in the groin or the flu.

Many young people view the opportunity to participate in the Super Highly Important Testing Bowl as the nadir moment of the school year. Failing to successfully navigate the SHI*T could haunt a child for the rest of their life. Retention in third grade, public humiliation, remedial classes, and denial of a high school diploma are literally on the line.

And SHIT is big business! Today, administration of our nation’s annual SHIT programs is a 2 billion dollar a year industry!

Much of the time and money devoted to testing is misspent. Too many tests are poorly constructed, unreliable, and unevenly administered. Multiple-choice questions cannot measure thinking skills, creativity, the ability to solve real problems, or many of the ‘soft skills’ we want our children to have. Moreover, many exams are biased racially, culturally, linguistically, and by class and gender.

I wish we could just say “no SHIT.” However, with passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) last year, the American SHIT season appears to be here to stay. This, despite little credible data to reveal it has greatly improved teaching and learning, raised student outcomes, enhanced college and career readiness, or significantly reduced the achievement gap.

In short, we have cracked a lot of eggs since this SHI*T first hit the fan 16 years ago, yet are still waiting on our omelet.

Despite our best efforts, SHI*T continues to happen to millions of young children in most schools in America.

At the very least, maybe we should follow the lead of the NFL and other sports leagues and least capitalize on this event.

I already mentioned how advertisers pay big bucks for the prime real estate of Super Bowl ads. Likewise, during the SHI*T season, the testing companies have a captive audience of millions of impressionable kids. Pearson had actually already started capitalizing on this through selective use of product placement in their test booklets. No kidding.

So, why don’t we contract with the testing companies to sell ad space for local companies RIGHT IN THE TEST BOOKLET with our schools getting a 50/50 split.  And while they’re at it, why don’t they sell advertising space on the parent reports? I’m thinking charter schools and other “not-for-profits” might be interested.

This SHI*T could actually pay for itself!

My mind is going now. Why stop at the test booklets? Why not investigate the use of optimized/customized pop-ups during online testing?

If Google, Facebook, and Amazon can target ads for me based on the content of my emails and web searches, perhaps Pearson could direct students to the appropriate charter school or other program based on their answers to various test questions.

By the time a student works halfway through the test, there could be preprogrammed pop-ups based on the student’s progress, like this:

If we must live with the SHI*T, we might as well create a new revenue stream since our lawmakers haven’t come up with any better ideas to this point.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the Super Bowl this Sunday. It won’t be long until the SHI*T season starts rolling downhill into our schools.

Let’s get excited, kids!

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