One Student Responds: Dystopia, Standardized Tests, and Failure

After reading dystopian novels, students were asked to create their own dystopia that speaks to a criticism they are making about their school. This is one student’s response. Names and other identifying features have been removed or changed.

“I mean I don’t necessarily agree with today’s tes-” Mr. Winters stopped mid-sentence, and looked over at the classroom overseer who stared at him with a raised eyebrow.

“Ahem.” Mr. Winters cleared his throat. “Everybody please grab a chrome¬† book and begin today’s weekly pre-test. When you’re finished you can either finish up Friday’s weekly post test or graph last week’s scores if you have already finished it. If you didn’t reach at least a 5% growth, please see the classroom overseer for today, and she will escort you. Please remember that if you falsely enter scores, or incorrectly graph your data, you will be immediately escorted and taken to the reconstruction facility. We don’t want that now do we?” he asked.

“No, Mr. Winters,” his class responded in unison.

He looked down at his feet and sighed. He was especially disappointed in himself, and what words he had just allowed to escape his mouth. He knew what education was meant to be, and he knew what he was capable of teaching his students, and this wasn’t it.

“What is the date today, Mr. Winters?” Nerissa asked, raising her hand.

“It’s Monday, July 6th, 2062,” he replied.

Nerissa sighed. She looked over at Thalassia and whispered, “Can you believe we go to school all year long? My grandma said that her mom used to have something called ‘summer break.’ They got two whole months off!”

Thalassia hushed Nerissa, for the classroom overseer was gazing upon them.

Mr. Winters is an 8th grade teacher at Goose Mere Middle School. The education system took a big turn in the year 2017, as the first controversial test known as the “PARCC” was expanded and given 4 times a year, against everyone’s wishes.

It was, and still is believed, that repetitive testing will ensure that the information will stay in the mind of a child or teenager. Children who do not make constant progress on their tests or don’t at least show minimal improvement get “escorted” from their classroom by its overseer for that day.

They are then taken to what is known as a “reconstruction facility.” The official name for this place is called “Pupils Corrective Residence” (most commonly referred to as PCR).

Parents must sign a 25 page contractual agreement stating that in the event their child does not show at least minimal progress through their test scores and their graphed data proves it, the overseer on that day has full authority and permission to “escort” their child to the PCR. There the child will stay day and night for 10 months straight with no contact with the outside world, except for the text they are permitted to send their guardian letting them know that they have been escorted.

Parents rarely refuse to sign this contract, because without doing so, their child is not permitted to attend public school, and private schools have either been banned by the U.S. Government or are very selective and expensive places where only people such as the president’s children would attend.

In the current year of 2062, job interviews are far different than they were a long time ago. The unemployment rate is almost 0% due to the new process. It seems glamorous, but it’s not. In order to apply for a job, you must take a series of five tests, then prepare for an oral speech. It’s almost like a school assignment, yet it’s in the real world. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Once a person has passed the six tests, they are required to be hired, as long as the company, workplace, or facility was in fact looking to hie somebody.

Children who do not make constant improvement or fail more than one test in 365 days are considered to not be able to pass job interviews in the future, meaning that they will end up homeless and useless to society.

In its entirety, this is the reason behind PCR.

…to be continued?

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