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Getting Slammed

Getting Slammed: 
The Six Easiest, Breeziest Steps

The Egg Symbolizing You, Public Education, and the Teaching Profession


Think you're so separated from getting slammed in this reform movement?


Forget about 6 degrees of separation. 

Instead, follow these 6 ILLUSTRATED steps that Privatizers, Race to the Top, APPR, and even the AFT have carefully prepared for you.  

These 6 steps are an easy, breezy approach from President Obama, Arne Duncan, and so many other reformers who, thank God, have made it effortless for education to seek a one-size-fits-all standardization as a panacea for student poverty. 

To read this entire narrative procedure, simply keep on reading and scrolling down until the end of Step 6.   

(Brought to you by Robert Rendo, a Nationally Board Certified Teacher who can't stop drawing and won't shut up.)

Step 1: HAVE YOUR STUDENTS TAKE A TEST ON THE COMPUTER. Watch your students take a local reading assessment that is completely computerized.You don't actually give them the test.  The computer does that for you. You, the teacher, have been removed from the assessment process. Just sit back, relax, and let the software do all the work for you. Remember: this assessment came from a Race to the Top state mandated list of computerized assessment that your school had to choose from. You and your district can no longer pick just any assessment or create your own as a school or district. 

Those days are gone. 

State and federal governments, which are supposedly representing the needs of the average citizens and not just corporations, have taken care of test choice for you.   

As for the test: you'll never be able to find out how this digital assessment works, because the corporation that wrote the program legally withholds such proprietary information, and a supervisor from customer service snaps at you over the phone with a glib "That's just the way it is. . . . "

Your district won't help you either because it's far too indifferent, busy, or powerless. 

Oh, and by the way, so is the union.

Meanwhile, your students will be rewarded with a spiffy, shiny, fancy video game that they play when they complete the first half of the test. The contents of the game have nothing to do with literacy. So most of your very young students will just click away aimlessly on the lack luster test just to get to the fun, sparkly game. 

Who can blame them?

This "game rush", in turn, will skewer results and render an inaccurate snapshot of your students' literacy acumen. 

But so what!

What's the worst thing that can happen? 

Your student learning objectives (SLO's) and APPR (annual professional performance review) will be lowered, dragging down your overall composite score and plunging you into the red flag categories known as "developing" or "ineffective":

You don't need to get upset about this . . . 

You can't control everything, right?

Who cares if this digital assessment falsely characterizes your abilities as a teacher? No matter what becomes of you in the system, you know the truth about yourself as a teacher. 

Isn't the truth enough?

Step 2: HAVE YOUR STUDENTS TAKE NUMEROUS STANDARDIZED TESTS. Have your students take a load of mandated standardized tests that have no comprehensive way of assessing a child's true learning and are 1 to 2 full grade levels higher than the grade of the child. Your state education deptartment warned you in advance that the tests would be much harder this year because of common core alignment and that scores would be expected to drop. Observe your students squirming under those impossible, way-beyond-challenging common core standard based questions that tend to be cryptic, inaccurate, illogical or culturally and socio-economically biased. 

Or maybe you won't observe anything about your students taking the test because you might not be permitted to proctor your own students under your state's interpretation and compliance with Race to the Top. 

And why should you have too much to do with your students' testing? After all, you were the one who taught your students all year and know him/her best. Right? Why would you want to have anything to do with test other than get the results and be judged for employability?

Step 3: GET OBSERVED 2 TO 6 TIMES A YEAR. Get observed with great scrutiny, knowing full well you'll rarely or never achieve a "4" under Charlotte Danielson's Rubrics. Ms. Danielson herself, bearing an irresistibly eerie resemblance to Herman Munster, has professionally warned you that you'll live in the "3's" and once in a blue moon visit the "4's". Have complete faith in the fact that all observations have a large degree of subjectivity, and just hope or pray that your observing administrator is fair, objective, competent at pedagogy, and not pressured to reduce the school's operating budget by getting rid of more expensive, more experienced teachers. 


Step 4: READ YOUR ANNUAL REVIEW AND SHRIEK IN HORROR. Shriek in Horror as you receive your annual review, get rated as "developing" or "ineffective", and get put onto a teacher improvement plan that offers no real robust support. Forget any notions that you've been mislabeled by junk science rating methods or that your own teacher-created formative assessments throughout the school year show true measurable data-laden growth. Your own assessments don't count because the system has already demonized and criminalized you in the media, and you are portrayed as being untrustworthy. 

And you are a horrible, nefarious do know that, don't you? YOU with your dental plan, your differentiation and conference log notes, your damn red shiny apples, your no. 2 pencils, dry erase boards, and mounds of construction paper, you evil villain. 

Step 5: IN YOUR SECOND YEAR OF EVALUATION, REPEAT STEPS 1 THROUGH 4. To get to step 6, make sure you complete this step by repeating steps 1 to 4.  

Step 6: GO DIRECTLY HOME AND DROWN IN YOUR INJUSTICE, SORROW, AND RAGE. After teaching for 20 years with myriad positive letters from parents, children and adminstrators and even a few teaching awards, get terminated in a 3020A proceeding within 35 days. Face and accept your ineffective union representation in the process of getting booted from your job. Dispense with the idea of "lawyer" and "law suit" because on a teacher's salary, they're both too expensive. Justice and fairness are only for rich people. 

Go home right away (but don't stop by the unemployment office because as a civil servant, you don't qualify for benefits). When you get home, crawl into bed and whimper into a fetal position, drowning yourself in a real American style cocktail of rage and depression. Cry or scream, which ever feels more comfortable. 

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