Tuesday, March 31, 2009
High Stakes and Messed Up Memories
Tomorrow morning kids all around the state of Louisiana will be taking the LEAP and GEE test to determine if all of those days of getting up early and doing all that homework were just a big waste of time. Put me in the column with the people that are against high stakes testing. I was in one of the first graduating classes that were required to pass the exit exam in order to graduate. It was around that time when I finally realized just how much stuff we didn’t learn in high school. Back then you had to pass all four parts English, Math, Science and Social Studies. I think now you can fail the Science or Social Studies and still graduate. I remember they had my homeroom class locked in this hot ass room with the intercom on to make sure we didn't cheat.
You took the English and Math in tenth grade and the Science and Social Studies in eleventh grade. I didn’t have much problem with the English and Math. The Science portion wasn’t too bad. Social studies was a challenge because we essentially had two social studies teachers and one of them made the decision that no matter what the subject was he was teaching black history. I didn’t know a damn thing about Geography but I knew all the words to the Black Preamble (yes there is a black preamble and no I couldn’t find it to link to). That was actually pretty cool but it made that Leap test hard as hell. A lot of kids failed the Science and Social Studies part so our senior was spent tutoring and trying to get people prepared to take it again and walk across the stage. Some people made it. Too many people didn’t. The end result was good kids we had been sitting next to in class for three and four years sitting at home on graduation day because nobody wanted to get their name called for a certificate of attendance. I hope all the kids are ready and do well. These tests are stupid but they are the only way out of there so you have to do it. I wish we get the chance to vote on these tests continuing. The thought of my high school class president who had a scholarship to Tulane University not graduating with us because she couldn’t pass a social studies test that she probably never saw half the material for would make me commit voter fraud and get back in line to vote NO twice! If all that hard work means nothing when you fail this test then why couldn’t you ask to take the test in early and stay home during high school? I should have asked to take it in ninth grade, passed it, then stayed home and played basketball in my yard all day for four years.
Good luck kids and if you fail keep asking to take it until you pass. I don’t care if it takes five years. If you did all the work you were supposed to you have earned the right to graduate.