My children, as well as all the other students across the state North Carolina and probably the nation, are once again undergoing the inane and dreaded EOG (End of Grade) testing for their schools. As my oldest son says whenever we get on this subject, “Oh, don’t get mom started.” And he’s right. This whole system, which does little, if anything, for the students, is an outrage in my opinion. For over the past month, the teachers have hardly been teaching the kids anything new. Why?
Because they have to prepare them for these tests, because they have to ‘teach to the test’. Why? Because their jobs, their pay, the funding their schools receive, are all dependent on the results of these tests. So for the last two months or more of our children’s school year, they learn very little new material. And, yes, our tax dollars are paying for this insanity. We should all be outraged! The teachers, the school administrators, have to, for job security, for funding, make sure the students do as well as possible on these tests so they must, by necessity, teach mostly what these tests will entail in order to prepare the students for them. Wouldn’t it be more logical, as well as more educational, to teach them, throughout the year, what they need to learn and not have to jump through the mandated EOG testing hoops at the end of each year? (Not only do they have to spend time at the end of the year doing this, but they also do practice EOG testing at the beginning of each year to see where the students stand ahead of time.)
The pressure all this nonsense places on the students, the administrators and the teachers is absurd. We still, as a country, as a state, have a ridiculously high drop-out rate. Our schools are still very underfunded (just watch the news. More and more educational budget cuts are expected in every year. It makes me so sad. Let’s cut the money going toward educating the future generation. Yeah, that makes total sense. NOT! Our children’s future depends on this; OUR futures depend on the children in school today. ) Then you take into account that the schools that do struggle with ‘making these marks’ are generally in areas that have a higher poverty rate and fewer parents at home to help with homework issues (because they’re working two plus jobs just to get by) and lower teacher salaries. So, they don’t make the mark, they don’t get the funding and they fall further behind. And, the cycle continues.
There must be a better solution. I have no idea what the cost to the states, to the government, is to put out these EOG tests, to pay for the grading, to pay for the results, to keep track of all this, but my guess is that it is pretty darn high. Wouldn’t it make more sense to put that money into the educational system in a more constructive way? Maybe something like paying our teachers a better salary. Maybe like not having our teachers live under the constant threat of budget cuts and layoffs? Maybe allowing teachers to actually teach new material over the last two months of the school year? Maybe something like putting more money into special services and/or tutoring for those students that are struggling with keeping up? What happened to teaching the basics? To administering finals at the end of the year to see if the kids learned the materials they were taught in the classroom and basing their academic acheivement on that? It seems to me that when we were growing up and going to school, our teachers taught us the basics, we learned them and we moved on and educationally, we were a strong country (keeping in mind that I am 45 years old). What happened? And why, oh why, do we have this insane and inane EOG system going now?