Jan 18, 2007

what a difference eight days make

We swear we're not teaching to the test. Oh, do we swear it: and yet do our actions give the lie to our oaths.

The WASL is intended to track a student's learning, to assess her skills at a fixed point in time. The 10th grade high-stakes pass-it-or-do-not-pass-go WASL should represent the culmination of eleven years of education.

We take whole summers off. Thanksgiving, winter break, Dr. King's Day, and a raft of other holidays. What's at stake if we miss a few days?

Apparently, everything to area districts.
Many districts are considering shortening midwinter or spring break as an option to extending the school year. Seattle Public Schools hopes to announce its decision next week, said district spokeswoman Patti Spencer.

Bellevue school officials will meet Tuesday to discuss their options for making up eight days, including scaling back midwinter or spring break. The Federal Way School District, which also has canceled eight days of school this year, is discussing similar options.

"The concern is this is really disruptive to the educational process, especially with the WASL coming up in March, said district spokeswoman Debra Stenberg. "One of the considerations may be to try to replace some of that instructional time prior to the beginning of the WASL."

Highline School District, which anticipates announcing its new school calendar in the next few weeks, is looking into alternatives to prolonging the school year, said district spokeswoman Catherine Carbone Rogers. Adding days at the end of the year doesn't help students prepare for the WASL, she said.
We do teach to the test. We furiously prepare for the WASL in the weeks running up, and every second of seat time counts. Actions don't just speak louder than words. They shout them down.

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