By May 1, 2016 Uncategorized 2 Comments

(A third grade teacher somewhere in Oklahoma)

“Okay, gather together students. I know you have been looking forward to April and May as much as I have. It’s that very special time we call, “The Festivus of Testivus!”

Yes, it is the most wonderful time of the year–the time when we stop our regular learning routines so you can enjoy filling in bubbles on a standardized test form.

There will be no music, art, computers or PE this week. Instead, we will be doing some extra practice to ensure you will do your very best during our Festivus!

Some adults who have never taught real children have created the Festivus of Testivus just for you. Wasn’t that nice of them?

These special tests give these people power over schools and helps them feel better about how things are going. This is because we would not know anything about what you have learned this year if not for the Festivus.

Your teachers and parents are clueless dopes so we don’t have the slightest idea how you are doing in school.

We used to think spending hundreds of hours with you every year would give us some good information but, of course, only a multiple choice test manufactured and graded by people who’ve never seen you could possibly reveal the stuff you really know or are able to do.

To properly celebrate this festive ritual, your teachers have being thoroughly trained so that we don’t mess up this experience for you.  

One of my favorite rituals associated with this time of the year is going through hours of test administrator’s training and being threatened with my job if I accidentally look at a test booklet without a proctor present in the room.

Moreover, many of you have asked why I recently covered up all of my bulletin boards and the student work that was posted around the room. This is because those things include words and so will your tests. And you might look up from your test and see a word on the wall that helps you remember another word that might match a word on your test that might help you correctly answer a question. The Festivus organizers say we can’t have that going on.

I’ve also been told that the new tests are quite magical. Not only do they measure your math and reading ability, they can also measure your intelligence, critical thinking, reasoning skills, food allergies, and future happiness.

Anyhow, about a month after the Festivus, the organizers will give me and your parents a piece of paper with the number of questions you got correct, along with a brief explanation like, “The student should read better.”

While this information will be totally meaningless to you, for your teachers this is useful stuff. With these results, we will be able to discern important information about you we could not have possibly figured out on our own, like how well you can read a book or do math.

I’m sorry. I just noticed you were crying, Miranda. Excuse me, what? Oh, sweetheart, don’t be silly. You don’t have to worry about failing this test. Remember, you’re a bluebird.

However, some of your classmates should be worried because they’re buzzards. Look at Jason over there chewing on his pencil eraser and making farting sounds. There’s a very good chance he will get to write “third grade” on his papers for a long time to come.

The Festivus will also help our principal get rid of all the sucky teachers at our school. We have teachers who hate kids and teaching and don’t want to get caught sucking. As a result, they complain about these wonderful tests and try to convince parents to opt out of the celebration.  That is so heartless, isn’t it, children?

We need the Festivus to find proof that some teachers are awful and need to be put in their place, which is out the door.

These tests also help some of you poor kids do as well in school as wealthy students with college educated parents from safe, well-functioning homes. The tests will erase what adults call the achievement gap, because testing teaches students like you to do better.

After you close the achievement gap, you will be able to attend college and become the owner of a major corporation. Across the nation minimum wages will rise, everyone will be able to afford a nice home, adequate food, and great health care, systemic racism will disappear, and social justice will rule the land.

But none of this can happen if we fail to celebrate the Festivus.

Another great thing about the Festivus is it gives the state actual data showing which schools are good and which ones are terrible. So, when a poor school in a poor neighborhood gets poor test results, politicians will be able to get the school the support it needs.

Ha, just kidding! If our schools fails, what is more likely to happen is they will close our school and give the money to some charter school that will then work with a few of our original students–the better ones, while the rest of you get transferred to another school across town.

Fortunately, the fun of the Festivus doesn’t end when the last test is administered and the last bubble filled in. Because in Oklahoma, we use these tests to see which of you will be given the privilege of repeating third grade.

I realize you guys are only eight years old and this seems like a lot of pressure. But, these tests are preparation for the real world because life is all about taking tests.

So, there is absolutely no reason to be anxious about the Festivus. It’s just like going to the doctor when you’re sick.

To figure out what’s wrong with you, the doctor gives you tests, right? She then uses her professional judgment combined with knowledge of your history to choose from among the thousands of tests developed and tested by other trained physicians to develop a picture of exactly what issue you are facing and how to make you better.

The Festivus is exactly like that, except instead of thousands of tests, there’s just one test used for everything from heart disease to sprained ankles to diabetes, and instead of that test having been extensively tested, it’s just experimental, and instead of coming up with a treatment plan, the authorities close your doctor’s office and replace it with a doctor’s office filled with healthier patients.

So, basically, the Festivus and going to the doctor are the same exact thing.

So, let’s get a sharp point on our #2 pencils, get a good night’s rest, eat a good breakfast, and get excited about the upcoming Festivus.

The Festivus of Testivus–it’s learning for the rest of us!”

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