A STANDARDIZED TEST FOR YOUR SCHOOL

[From Sam Smith’s Great American Political Repair Manual, WW Norton, 1997]

Here are a few questions that may help you find out what’s right and wrong with your community’s schools. Add or subtract points for any statment that is true:

1. THE PRINCIPAL

is seen regularly in classes finding out what’s going on . . . +10

is seen regularly in hallway in conversation with students . . . +5

is seldom seen in the hallways . . . -5

uses a bullhorn in hallways . . . -8

2. THE SCHOOL

has less than five hundred students . . . +5

has more than five hundred students . . . -5

is still trying to figure out this year’s actual enrollment . . . -8

3. THE WORST TEACHER IN THE SCHOOL

just started this year. . . 0

has been in the system five years . . . -3

is working on 20 . . . -5

is now a principal or downtown administrator . . . -8

4. OLDER STUDENTS ARE TYPICALLY CONSIDERED

discipline problems . . . -10

members of a community . . . +5

potential teachers and tutors for younger students . . . +10

5. IN HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES CLASSES

students don’t use textbooks since the teacher prefers primary sources . . . +5

students don’t use textbooks because the system ran out and the new order hasn’t come in . . . -3

What history and social studies classes? They were replaced by the anti-drug program years ago . . . -8

6. PARENTS

are regularly used as volunteers in elementary school . . . +3

are regularly used as volunteers in middle and high school . . . +5

are required upon coming to the school to sign a log and explain the purpose of their visit . . . -5

7. TV IS USED

to teach critical thinking about the media and advertising . . . +10

to make curriculum more informative and interesting . . . +5

to view purple dinosaurs and show business kids from hell . . . -5

8. DEDUCT ONE POINT FOR EVERY TV COMMERCIAL SEEN DURING THE TYPICAL SCHOOL DAY. [ ]

9. AS STUDENTS GROW OLDER THEIR PERFORMANCE TENDS TO

get worse . . . -10

stay about the same 0

get better . . . +10

10. THE SCHOOL

is open to the community after regular classes . . . +5

offers classes for adults and families . . . +5

teaches its community’s history and culture . . . +5

practices a wide variety of teaching styles and techniques . . . +5

has lots of field trips and out-of-school activities . . . +5

offers assistance to students affected by drugs/alcohol, pregnancy, parenthood, truancy, abuse, gangs, etc. . . . +5

11. THE SCHOOL

offers anti-drug program but not drama classes . . . -5

offers driving lessons but not civic lessons . . . -5

offers JROTC but not mediation or peer conflict resolution . . . -5

12. STUDENTS LEARN

how to ask searching questions . . . +5

how to get around locker searches . . . -5

how to argue persuasively with their parents . . . +5

how to argue persuasively with their parole officer . . . -5

13. FOR SECURITY AND DISCIPLINE THE SCHOOL USES

city police . . . -10

security guards . . . -5

school faculty and administrators . . . +5

school faculty, administrators and the students themselves . . . +10

13. UPON ENCOUNTERING A YOUNG PERSON IN THE HALL, A SCHOOL OFFICIAL WOULD TYPICALLY SAY SOMETHING LIKE

“I need to see your ID.” . . . -5

“Good morning, Jannine” . . . +5

14. THE SCHOOL BELIEVES THAT STUDENTS LARGELY LEARN BY

listening . . . -10

doing . . . +10

15. IN PREPARING FOR LIFE AFTER GRADUATION, THE SCHOOL

concentrates on the needs of college-bound students . . . -5

is as interested in student not going to college as those who are . . . +5

16. DEDUCT THREE POINTS FOR EVERY AUDIO-VISUAL AID OR COMPUTER IN THE SCHOOL THAT IS NOT WORKING [ ]

17. EXTRA-CURRICULAR PROGRAMS SUCH AS THE ARTS, SPORTS AND SKILL-ORIENTED CLUBS ARE CONSIDERED

nice but in today’s competitive environment must give way to other things . . . -5

an important part of what makes the school great. . . . +5

18. BONUS: THE SCHOOL IS

a happy place that I would enjoy attending . . . +20

SCORING YOUR SCHOOL
Top of the class: 145 and up
Tries hard : 100 and up
Needs effort : 60 and up
Get a new school board : Below 60

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