Anyone out there who has had it up to here with standardized testing should take a look at the tests that Dallas ISD requires of grade-school students in art, band and – believe it or not – physical education. First you may have a good laugh, and then you may want to cry.
The tests required by Superintendent Mike Miles are ridiculous. The Assessment of Course Performance, or ACP, as it is known, for kindergarten art requires five-year-olds to “create artworks using a variety of lines, shapes, colors, textures and forms.” I don’t know what happens if a kid insists on sticking to one color, but surely he or she doesn’t have to repeat the class.
First-graders in music class are required to take a test measuring their ability to “sing tunefully,” and second-graders in PE are tested on their ability to “demonstrate mature form in skipping,” among other skills.
The Dallas Morning News (see the link below) provides several more examples of this preposterous administrative incursion into the classroom day and rip-off of taxpayer dollars. It almost seems as if Superintendent Miles is trying to motivate parents to pack their children off to private school, if they can afford it, even before they hit the STAAR grind in the third grade.
According to the newspaper, Dallas ISD teachers and parents have rallied against the tests because they are stressing out children and taking away too much time from actual learning. At a school board briefing on Thursday, some trustees urged the superintendent to consider eliminating the tests.
I have a better idea for the board. It should demand, not simply ask, that the superintendent call a halt to the testing foolishness. The board, after all, hired the superintendent and can fire him. So, why should trustees allow the tail to wag the dog?