Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Adequate Yearly Progress-by Roxanna Elden

This satire about the fictitious Brae Hill Valley High School in Texas provides readers with a view of teachers' lives, both inside and outside the classroom. There are a lot of acronyms and, as one might expect from the title, there is much here about assessment, binders full of data, and standardized tests. It is somewhat prescient that this story about Texas' STARR assessment tests, and the real poet who couldn't answer the questions about her own poem has been making the rounds recently.

Brae Hill Valley has a media center "formerly known as the library". Its only use in this work is for a meeting of the Pre-Holiday Cross-Departmental Midyear-Assessment Data Chat ("PHCDMAC for short"). The only mention of the media specialist's (aka librarian's) work involves cutting out a laminated sign warning students to keep their distance from the creepy mechanical Santa Claus that was making its annual appearance from the school's supply room. Ah, well, at least BHVHS has a librarian. Many school districts find librarians to be easy targets when budgets are cut. This story from the Spokane (Washington) Spokesman-Review makes clear how little attention is actually paid to all the assessment data that educators are required to collect. Although there is a strong positive correlation between having school libraries with professional librarians and better student achievement librarian positions continue to be eliminated across the country.

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