Time, time, time… see what’s become of us

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I keep this calendar in my room, changing topics as the months go by. I have had months where the laminate on top was covered in words. If we want to understand why American students are falling behind much of the rest of the world, though, I think this month’s calendar provides a quick snapshot of part of the problem. The “Erased for PARCC” part resulted from a PARCC test requirement. We are not allowed to have any content words up in our room that might provide hints or clues to help answer PARCC questions. We had to remove or cover all wall decorations with any academic content.

All of the above content had to be covered or taken down.

PARCC did not eat up a full two whole weeks of instruction. Total time lost was technically three days, although taking three days off affects instruction before and after significantly. Since we used the last three days of the week for the test, we needed material of a short and uncomplicated nature before the test. I think we were adding up angles in triangles and seeking the value of random variables in math. Science was review, review, reviewing for future tests. The PARCC erasure contained a number of quizzes or tests. Teachers were also required to give a bubble test, an hour plus of mathematical misery, on the Monday after PARCC. Sad wails erupted through the room. “Another test?” WHY? We just got done!” Only they are never done.

Spring break did eat up a whole week of March. The fact that the quarter technically ended shortly before spring break also affected instruction since topics were determined, in part, based on whether or not we had time to finish them. More demanding topics were jettisoned because we did not have a long enough time block to do them justice.

Eduhonesty: March has been instruction light. Between the test and break, we will not get out of “seasons” this month. We are out of geometry. Ready or not, done or not, we have moved on to the agenda for the fourth quarter which is data and distributions. I would have liked to have spent more time on triangles; we never did get to the Pythagorean Theorem. Dammit.