Ice Cream Parties and the ISAT: What is Our Education System Really Feeding the Kids?

NEWS STORY ON WBBM NEWSRADIO 780 PROMPTS THIS RESPONSE

After a week of hearing about the controversy surrounding the giving of the soon-to-be outdated ISAT, or Illinois Standard Achievement Test in this case (ISAT is an acronym for other tests and names- see Resources list at the end of this article), I am inspired to write this article.

First of all, according to parents and teachers this test is going to be done away with and so is obsolete. It is also wasteful, taking up classroom instructional time, and not to mention the amount of testing material which would be needed. Standardized testing has long been under fire for being discriminatory, wasteful, outdated and just a way to categorize and organize by a mere set of numbers (test scores).

What else are these statistics used for but to find a way into the clutches of the Census Bureau in some way or other regarding education funding, gerrymandering, and goodness knows what other unhealthy ways the government has found to divide and sort us out and bring on inferiority or superiority complexes.

And now what is evidence of this? Well, on the news report to night came word that some kids who took the test (or “opted in”) were treated to an ice cream party in their classroom while the students who “opted out” were made to sit and do work while the others enjoyed the party.

Well I would say to that, “How crass and materialistic can they get?” What message is that sending the students? I can think of a few, one being that “if you don’t do what the authority figures want to force you to do, you won’t get in on the sweets and the party. You have to sit aside and watch the others have fun!”

Well, so be it, take your lousy and rotten party. I’d rather sit far away from you as possible and do something productive that will further my education, away from the useless test and the ones who want the attention and the sweets. Let them have them. “Let them eat cake!”

Another message the students might get: “Food and attention mean more than getting a good education.” If I just give in and do what they want I can get a free meal or dig in to the ice cream and cake and oh… it must be good for me to have because that’s what the reward is!”

It’s not good for you, my young friend. It is sugar, sweet, playing for your attention. It will give you a sugar whiz and bang so tall you’ll climb the walls filled with excess energy and inattention. That sugar jump will quickly disappear and then you will feel tired and worn out and jittery. So your little friends who eat the huge amounts of ice cream and cake and maybe a few cups of those artificially sweetened fruit cocktail drinks with which the grocery stores are loaded, and which contain only about five or ten percent real juice, will soon get a big let down.

Meanwhile you who were made to do the quiet work, eating probably a healthier selection of a sandwich, vegetable sticks, milk, an apple, some nuts if you can safely have them for the energy they provide, peanut butter maybe, some fiber bars or other selection of fiber and vitamins, sitting there silently doing your reading, writing an essay, or practicing your mathematics or spelling, will have an overall better day. You have the productive use of time, the better and more balanced diet, the quiet time that is necessary for study and concentration, and no pressure about looking for some silly test score.

I side with the teachers who boycotted giving the test or having any part of it. They know that the best use of classroom time is truly more than some set of standardized test scores. Teaching to the test is not a true measure of academic achievement, so the entire testing system needs to be questioned and reformed. These tests are indeed tied to school funding- so where your tax dollars go and how important your neighborhood is to some ivory -tower government official who has no idea about your school or the students and is too far removed in the halls of Washington to give a flip about what your opinion is about some state -mandated test procedure.

Boycott all these tests, brave teachers and parents and students! Opt out of the stupidity and the uselessness and the waste of money and time and other resources that the government pushes in your face and braces with intimidation!

Intimidation? That’s grounds enough for a strike if ever one came up! Stop the importance of the tests until the system is completely burned away and reformed. The test serves no purpose, does not affect anything but census gibberish and school funding and is not relevant to the reception of a good education.

But as you will see by reading the article and the commentary so far given at the end of the news article in the resource list at the end of this article, the issue is up and down, with every side and every kind of person chiming in on the issue. What a situation…

Our students are treated as pawns in the hands of those who want them to turn to this or that side… what do they want then but to believe that these young citizens can be taken in by the appearance of the passing ice cream and cake? There will be time enough for parties and leisure, young learners, when you have earned the enjoyment. Now the time to take the leisure will not come by shirking your job or just “getting by” with your lessons and by breaking the rules that are there for your safety and health.

You must make the effort, take the time, be patient in your enjoyment of learning, gain wisdom and observe and most importantly listen.

In the meanwhile, good bye and good riddance, ISAT!

RESOURCES

1. ISAT Acronyms. http://www.acronymattic.com/ISAT.html. 4 March 2014

2. On the ISAT Controversy. http://www.suntimes.com/news/25979696-418/teachers-who-boycotted-isat-allowed-to-remain-in-classrooms.html. 4 March 2014

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