Teachers Have Power.

Testing.Shhhhhhhhh.  Testing.

It’s the never ending education topic.

I think we need testing, but probably not to the extent the government is shoving down our throats (and normally our government does a GREAT job!).

One day, it will be readjusted and we will test students just the right amount for their indivdual progress and goals.

Sadly, we aren’t there yet.

Everyone complains about the amount of stress testing puts on students and teachers.

Don’t even get me started on the billions of dollars being made by faceless companies who are part of the testing process.

It’s BIG business.  Really BIG.

Then there is the little secret no one ever acknowledges.  The intregal part of testing that is left unspoken.

Teachers are powerful.

Very powerful.

Without them, there’s no testing.

When teachers in individual schools or states decide they’ve had enough testing, we will see a change.

Can you imagine if teachers refused to test?

Up to this point, they have been very compliant.  Teachers usually are.

But one day, I think they may decide as a group they’ve had enough.

If that happens, things will change.  And change very quickly.

So it begins in Seattle.

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Test Scores and Garage Doors.

Educators hate mandated testing.Garage Door Theory.

Hate.  Hate.  Hate it.

It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard (for those of you younger than 35… chalkboards were used to write on and deliver notes to students before your fancy whiteboards and SMARTBoards came along).

Yet, I think schools perform at a higher level because of testing (not a popular position, I know). 

That being said, I disagree with many of the decisions by the people (politicians) who have put testing in place.

The truth is people perform better when they are evaluated. 

I don’t like it.  You don’t like it.  Nobody likes it.

I’ve never met anyone who said "Yeah, it’s time for my evaluation.  Sweet!"

I can’t say testing has made students smarter, but I think it’s made teachers and administrators more accountable.

I also think it’s a mortal lock that everyone involved, from politicians to testing companies, has benefited more than kids from all this "testing business".

Don’t kid yourself, it’s big business.  Really big.

Those who demand more testing also seem to believe scores are a reflection of student intelligence.  Higher Scores = Better Teachers and Smarter Students.

I don’t buy this.

As educators, we face challenges that can’t be tested.

I think the number one challenge for education and educators in this country is poverty.

My late father-in-law used to say he could drive through any community and tell you their test scores.  He called it his "Garage Door Theory".

More garage doors equaled higher test scores.

Communites with large houses with three car garages did better than communities with smaller houses and fewer garages.

Maybe his theory was a bit simplistic.  Or maybe he was more correct than most of us want to believe.

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Educators Cheating? Who Knew?

I did.test

It’s quite possible I’m the least surprised man in America about the cheating scandal in Atlanta, Georgia.

Educators would cheat on standardized tests?

Sure they would.

Why wouldn’t they?

The pressure.

The expectations.

The unrealistic goals.

The high-stakes game of testing we are forcing down our children’s throats.

This cheating scandal was bound to happen.

And it won’t be the last one.

Sooner or later it’s going to come out lots of schools have cut corners during testing.

Teachers and administrators aren’t any different than the rest of society.

From politicians to Tiger Woods, there are plenty of examples of people who are willing to cut corners to reach what they consider a worthy goal.

People cheat.

Newsflash… some even lie.

I would also add there are people who steal, but I don’t want to discourage you.

I wish it was different.

I wish the world we live in had higher standards, but it doesn’t.

We live in a short cut world.

A place where what’s good for me at this very moment trumps long-term integrity.

And sadly, it’s probably no different now than it was 50 years ago.

Or 500.

Or even a 1,000.

People are people.

And teachers and administrators are people.

So don’t be surprised a very small segment of educators got caught up in doing the wrong thing.

Because I’m not.

I’m also not surprised 99.99% of educators get up and go to school everyday and do the right thing.

And you shouldn’t be either.

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Whiffers. Smell Your Way to Higher Test Scores.

A few weeks ago, I received an email asking me (I think, because I can’t really remember at my advanced age) to blog about a product.3 Pack fro $4.95.  A Steal If They Work.

As I normally do, I read the email.

Then I immediately went to my go to move which is hit delete and get on with my sad and pathetic life.


I don’t know why, it’s just the way my life is.

Oh, you are probably thinking why do I delete all of my emails.  My bad.

Because most of the emails I get don’t have anything to peak my interest.  Like a free t-shirt.  Or a trip.  Or the time honored attention grabber… cash.

But something about this particular one caught my attention.

It talked about improving test scores.

And while I don’t know much, I do know we’re all obsessed with test scores (whether we like it or not… and most of us probably don’t).

The product in the email was Whiffers.

They are scented wrist bands students can wear while testing.

Evidently the bands make kids really smart.

And who amongst us doesn’t need more really smart kids?

Now in effort of full disclosure (and on the advice of the PrincipalsPage.com lawyers), I want to say I’m not a stockholder in the company, or on the payroll, or even at this point a believer.

What I am is curious.

Can we really effect the test scores of our students with a wrist band that smells like spearmint?  Or peppermint?  Or even lavender?

It sounds crazy.

But what if it’s just crazy enough to work?  Maybe it’s like a blog about nothing.

What if the “Whiffer Suits” are on to something?

Even if the bands help a little, it might be enough to improve test scores to a level where a school district is successful instead of failing.

Now you might be asking is this an official PrincipalsPage.com Blog endorsement?

No it’s not.

As I mentioned earlier there has been no official exchange of a free t-shirt.

And without that, there is no chance of an endorsement.

What has happened is they’ve made me think.  Mainly about the steps adults in education will take to improve test scores.

If these bands work, Whiffers will sell them by the millions.

Even if they don’t work, I think they will still sell.

Say what you want, but America is a great country.

And it’s based on business and entrepreneurs.

Somewhere along the way, someone figured out we needed to test our students.

And then someone else figured out there was big money to be made on testing our students.

Now, educational testing at the K-12 level is a huge billion dollar business (I’ve just made up a number… it’s probably more).

Whiffers is on the right track, one way or another.

Now if I could only figure out how I could get a small cut of this action.

Or at least a free t-shirt (yes, once again it’s all about me).

If you have a special secret to improve test scores, please send it my way.  But keep in mind, I’m going to steal the idea and give you absolutely NO credit.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.