Thursday, September 15, 2011

All of the Above

 The New York State Education Department recently banned the use of 'all of the above' and 'none of the above' on multiple choice tests in order to avoid 'tripping up' the students taking the tests. 
In other words, instead of concentrating on producing students who will someday grow into literate adults, we're going to be vetting the tests they take in order to remove words that might 'trip them up,' Sounds like Alice has fnally  left Wonderland and is now living happily in New York. 
     "Before I pronounce sentence, do you have anything to say for yourself?"
     "Your Honor, I'm so sorry. I've been teaching for over 20 years and I was never in any kind of trouble before. I didn't know that it was illegal to put 'all of the above' and 'none of the above' on a test. I..."
     "Wait a minute! Wait a minute! You put 'all of the above' AND 'none of the above' on the same test?"
     "Well, uh, actually..."
     "What kind of a monster are you? And you call yourself a teacher? You are hereby sentenced to boredom."
     "Your Honor, please. Can't I just have life in prison? or the rubber room? I have a family. I..."
     "Death! Now get out of my sight."
     "Does this mean I lose my pension?"
Reminds me of a physics professor I studied with in Brooklyn College.  A week before final exams, one of my classmates asked Prof. Smits about a book entitled Physics Made Easy. The question he asked was whether it was indeed possible for a book, any book, to make physics easy.
"Sure, replied Prof. Smits. You just leave out all the hard stuff."
Professor Smits was joking. The Education Department apparently is not. Maybe it's finally time to give parents the same opportunity to pick their child's teacher as they have always had to pick his or her doctor.  Choice should mean...Choice. How do you spell 'Voucher?'