Saturday, November 21, 2009

Number One Sign Your Parents Were Not in the Gifted Program:

They are sending you to prep classes for the gifted test.

Test preparation has long been a big business catering to students taking SATs and admissions exams for law, medical and other graduate schools. But the new clientele is quite a bit younger: 3- and 4-year-olds whose parents hope that a little assistance — costing upward of $1,000 for several sessions — will help them win coveted spots in the city’s gifted and talented public kindergarten classes.

Motivated by a recession putting private schools out of reach and concern about the state of regular public education, parents — some wealthy, some not — are signing up at companies like Bright Kids NYC. Bright Kids, which opened this spring in the financial district, has some 200 students receiving tutoring, most of them for the gifted exams, for up to $145 a session and 80 children on a waiting list for a weekend “boot camp” program.

These types of businesses have popped up around the country, but took off in New York City when it made the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test, or Olsat, a reasoning exam, and the Bracken School Readiness Assessment, a knowledge test, the universal tests for gifted admissions beginning in 2008.
Hilarious. Pity the poor child whose parents are too dense to realize that a gifted test, much like an IQ test, is not something for which one can study. I mean, the "duh" factor here is astonishing.

Worse, these test preparation services and their educational "boot camps" aren't licensed or regulated by the state.

There is no state registry or licensing for these services, but an Internet search turns up numerous companies with names like Another Young Scholar, Junior Test Prep and Thinking to Learn. Harley Evans, the owner of Manhattan Edge Educational Programs, raised prices this year to $90 a session from $65, but still has his maximum load of 70 children. Daniel C. Levine, the founder of Exclusive Education, based in Manhattan, said that a few years ago, 2 percent of his clientele were children under 6. Now it is about 10 percent.

“It’s the same phenomenon as with the SATs: a gradual rise in test prep, until it becomes the norm,” said Emily Glickman, a Manhattan educational consultant.
Until it becomes the ultimate form of social control. Until we've stamped out critical thinking skills once and for all. Until we've turned an entire generation of youngsters into rats, winding their way through the standardized test maze, looking for the proverbial cheese.

The NCLB Testocracy: a "psychometric blitzkrieg of metastasizing testing aimed at dismantling public education." Stratifying society one student at a time.

UPDATE: SocProf at Global Sociology (my "comrade" in arms) has more.
[Standardized] tests prepare for nothing other than taking other tests whose values is based only on the fact that people believe in their value. They are not good predictors of anything.

Has anyone noted that big complaints about education in the US have started ever since the corporate ideology was imposed on the school system? Personally, that’s the way I see the correlation: the more corporatized the schools become (more administrators, fewer teachers, declining budgets, more “schools should be run like businesses” ideology), the lower the quality of education.

Part of that ideology, as I have said before, education is not about critical thinking, citizenship, etc.. It is about skills acquisition for the job market. Education is not about educating students, it’s about training workers.

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