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Janet Adkins, the worst legislator ever or just freaking clueless?

This was on Janet Adkins Facebook page: FSA UPDATE: I spoke with my son last night who is a 13 yr old middle school student in Fernandina Beach. He said he took the FSA, had no problem with signing on to the system and he completed the writing assignment in 45 minutes and then sat for one hour in his chair and took a nap until the end of the assigned testing period. It always seems we hear the stories of stress and confusion with these standardized tests and while this may serve some goal to somehow suggest testing is not appropriate the fact is that many students complete these tests. We must do a better job teaching the students how to study, organization and preparation. My own observation is this is a skill issue that can result in poor testing results.

Well friends who gives a flying flip that her son is God's gift to the future and had no problems. That does not discount the problems that thousands and thousands of other children had.

She then goes on to dismiss people's concerns as flight's of irrelevant fancy. Here is the thing as much as she might like to think so Janet Adkins is not smarter than the states superintendents, teachers and parents the vast majority of whom bemoan what education has become because of high stakes standardized testing. Her hubris has taken the place of reason. 

Here are some other responses which overwhelmingly say in one form or another, Jan, it's one thing to be clueless but its another thing to open your mouth and confirm it.

Personally, I don't send my children to school to take naps. That ended in preschool. My children are there to learn and not to kill time. Doesn't the very fact that your child finished the test with a full hour remaining concern you at all or cause you to question whether or not this particular assessment might warrant a closer look? And, while I agree that studying, preparation and organization are all laudable skills for any child to cultivate, how would you suggest my 4th grader prepare for a test none of his teachers have even seen and no other 4th graders have taken. Have you seen it? I sure haven't. I've seen practice tests, though. I've even attempted a few and, even though I'm 45 years old with multiple advanced degrees, they made me want to cry. Many questions were poorly written and confusing at best and dead wrong at worst. Can you make 10 cents out of 3 coins? I cannot. My son cannot. But still, he prepares. His teacher has cancelled science (yes, cancelled!) for the past month and now teaches 2 and 3 math lessons a day in order to "prepare" her students. Have you ever tried to mop up a swimming pool with a paper towel? My child's brain is the paper towel in this analogy, in case you were wondering. He is overwhelmed, overloaded and can absorb no more. I know for a fact that he's not unique. Luckily, there will most likely be time for a nap when he finishes the test early. Did it ever occur to you that a young, healthy child falling asleep after a test just might not be a sign of lack of stress and is perhaps a sign of mental exhaustion, instead?

I think, perhaps you might be misunderstanding what all the gruff is about. Testing is appropriate. This wave of testing isn't. The infrastructure isn't there yet, and results from the first few days of testing was scattered at best. No one in the opt out movement is against assessment. They are against high stakes assessment with no proven track record. The fact that schools and teachers won't be held accountable for the first year's results, should indicate that the same is needed for students. And the fact that you want to compare your son's easy experience to ALL other students is quite frankly, condescending. There are students with processing issues, ADHD, anxiety, etc. Some of those same kids are not getting the same accommodations that they have gotten before. That is stressful. Yes, study, organization and preparation will most certainly help. How about providing the tools necessary to the students and the teachers next time. Teachers still didn't have a sense of what was going to be on the test. How do you prepare and study that?

My son sat for the FSA last week and had no trouble signing on and little trouble opting out. He didn't opt out because he (or his family) were concerned for his grades or stress. He opted out, we opted out, because the test is untried , the grades won't be available to direct his classroom education, my son isn't responsible for grading his teachers or district, zero transparency of the test (as a matter of fact the other items we've seen from AIR are riddled with errors) before or after grading, the high stakes attached to the exam haven't been met with high standards, many students (including some of my sons friends and family) who need extra accommodations (or downright exemptions) are being bullied into taking a test that isn't remotely appropriate, loss of instruction time to testing in no way helps my sons education, and he is clearly more than a score. My son is a new student of Tai Chi, an honor roll student, a young man reading above his grade level, silly, kind and has the ability to see the wrong of bullying students for something completely unnecessary. If you think teachers aren't capable of judging where their students are, then I'd argue that's a problem with the professional standards of teaching...not a problem to be visited on my son and all these students. The biggest reason we opted out? I can read and practice critical thinking. Opt Out until we can vote out. These are our public schools, not the legislators, not the FL DOE, not the DOE, and not the testing corporations. Ours, families

Is it possible that the kids who feel the test was easy, felt that way because their teachers have been so fearful for their jobs, that they have spent the whole year prepping kids for one test that won't even be graded until halfway through next year? Organization and time management are certainly good skills to have, but one size does not fit all. My 12 year old just scored a 1520 on SAT college entrance exam, and opted for an NR2 on FSA. He doesn't need to prove his abilities or intellect to anyone, but he's very upset with the research he's done on this test, and the way he thinks adults in power and those making reams of money on it are fundamentally stripping education of learning, excitement to learn, imagination, exploration, fun, and anything that doesn't tie directly back to this ONE TEST.

Do you have issue with the valuable hours lost in instruction time? The stress on teachers, the lack of validity of the tests, the millions of dollars to be made off our guinea pig children, the high stakes attached to the test, the barrage of assessments throughout the year, etc? Do you care about the MILLIONS of other kids and teachers that suffer? Just curious.

I pity people that have such shallow narrow minds that can only accept that the way they do things are best for everyone.

The problem isn't the test, it's the way results are used to penalize schools.

Dear Congresswoman Adkins of the education committee, I am glad to hear that your child did not have a negative experience with the test as other children have had. Given your unique position in this debate, don't you think it would have been helpful (if not ethical) to provide full disclosure when presenting what appears to be a random opinion. You support the testing structure. I get it. You are also aware that others do not. Are you so sure that this top heavy approach is best for every county and every student? The evidence is not there after years of more and more testing. Most important to us is that it's getting in the way of letting good teachers teach and is not showing any ability to make corrections to those judged ineffective.

You can check it out here:

1 comment:

  1. One of the most authentic exchanges of relevant experiences and opinions on testing in Florida that I have ever read. Amazing responses in answer to a let them eat cake post by Rep Adkins. What a lost opportunity for dialogue...#optout until we can vote out.