"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, October 06, 2011

California Schools Issue Student ID Cards for Test Scores

It's ironic that on the day of Apple founder Steve Job's sad and untimely death, two California schools are in the news for issuing identity cards to students based on their test scores.

I was at the Apple store today because my MAC needed to be repaired. There were hundreds of yellow post-it notes covering the window of the store with personal notes. Generally, they were from the young people who worked in the store about how Steve Jobs inspired them and gave them the strength to be who they were. Some said working at Apple changed their lives by encouraging them to be themselves and to find their passion. Jobs, who never finished college and struggled throughout his early career, with many ups and downs, failures and successes, ended up creating one of the most transformative technologies and progressive companies the world has ever seen.

For the students at these two California schools, being who they are is no longer acceptable. Now there is a three-tiered hierarchy of the smart kids, the average kids and the stupid kids. They are being labeled at their most formative years and for those who don't measure up, they are being humiliated and deemed failures before they even get out of school.

The students are given ID cards come in various colors and entitle students with the "right" color to have extra privileges. There are black cards, gold cards and white cards. No one should be surprised this is happening. When teachers' and administrators' salaries and jobs are tied to student test scores, meniachal sociopaths will to find ways to create a segregated class system of winners and losers mirroring the values of the society all under the banner of "raising achievement." Achievement, a code word for more profits in the world of corporate ed reform, means raising test scores. How utterly sad and ironic that with all the talk by politicians including President Obama and Arne Duncan about American competitiveness, this is where their Race to the Top gotten us.

I wonder what Steve Jobs would say to those students. Actually, we all know what he would say. Hopefully, sanity will prevail. The State Department of Educaton has already deemed this policy illegal and a violation of students' rights to privacy. Perhaps the next bright idea will be to issue the black, gold and white cards to teachers so they can compete for privileges or punishments tied to their students' test scores. Those with the white cards would have to eat lunch outside in the parking lot, segregated from those with the black and gold cards.

The propaganda perpetuated on the American public over the past ten years with its focus on test scores seems to be working since many readers who commented on this article believe this is actually a good idea because it rewards the students who work hard. The emphasis on filling in the bubbles for more than a decade, dumbing down the curriculum to where it is void of civics, social studies, and critical thinking is one of the reasons this insanity continues to perpetuate itself.

It's truly tragic to think the next Steve Jobs. a student with a brilliant, creative mind who might not fit neatly into a round circle or a square peg will be lost before he or she ever has a chance to shine. In fact, there are likely to be many students when issued a white card just decide to drop out of high school altogether and possibly even committ suicide.

How many more students and lives will be destroyed because of this ridiculous pressure to perform on high stakes standardized tests. What other hairbrain schemes will administrators come up in their desperate attempt to hold on to their jobs in this poisonous and dysfunctional education system - a system that perpetuates even more segregation and destruction on every level.
Click here to read the article from the Orange County Register

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