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Today’s Exercise in Inanity

November 16, 2009

I am administering the New York State Social Studies test in Chinese to a Chinese student who has been here for less than a month. The test assesses what he has learned from elementary school social studies. Let me tell you: he hasn’t. The poor guy! How is it that we can assess in foreign languages through translated tests and foreign language proctors, but we can’t teach in foreign languages? Can’t give him a textbook in his language?

Don’t get me wrong: I am glad we at least give him a test he can READ (imagine how sad to stick him in front of an English test booklet), but isn’t it crazy to ask him to be responsible for third (and fourth and fifth)-grade content when he JUST got here? Today is multiple choice, tomorrow: DBQs!

This is what happens when non-educators set education policy, my friends. No Child Left Behind!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Melissa permalink
    November 17, 2009 6:38 pm

    So how’d that DBQ go? Does he get to answer in Chinese?

    Everyone’s an expert when it comes to making education better. I told my principal today that he can just give me the cookbook with all the worksheets, lecture notes and video clips and I’ll gladly collect the papers at the end of class. (That conversation didn’t really go over too well.)

  2. esodhiambo permalink*
    November 17, 2009 8:55 pm

    Yes–he was allowed to write his entire DBQ in Chinese, but he couldn’t because he had NO IDEA what the question was talking about, you know, never having had access to our curriculum.

    I get so steamed when people start blowing about education (did you see Meet the Press on Sunday? I was shouting at my TV like I was coaching from the sidelines–someone put a sock in Newt and his kindergarten Pell Grants): everyone thinks that because they were a student, they know all about education. Guess what? I’ve been seeing doctors all my life–can I take your tonsils out? I’m sure I could do it cheaper than an MD!

    You are such a smartass. That’s why I love you.

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