Photo courtesy of Alison Yin for EdSource

America’s kids take part in the joy of test-taking, something the monsters at the department of education want to get rid of this year!

The Ironist

The Ironist presents an argument using that mighty tool known as verbal irony, or sarcasm. Irony has long served as an expression of protest– both a weapon and a balm for those living in tough, turbulent times like our own. 

      In response to a large number of jerks who suddenly got sick from the coronavirus last spring, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) stupidly decided to suspend SOL tests. This year, the experts down in Richmond decided to reinstate at least some of the tests, thank God. In fact, 11th-graders will be thrilled to know that within weeks of returning to school buildings this month, they will be plunked in front of a TestNav site to crank out an essay for the Writing SOL test. Don’t forget the counterclaim, kids! 

      Of course, in all its graciousness, the state has decided to give juniors a choice. They can indulge in this joy now, or they can kick the can down the road and take the writing test as seniors. Perhaps some will save this treasure for a bit of delayed gratification.   

    The SOL tests are the highlight of every kid’s school year, starting in the third grade. The fact that someone could be so cruel to take them away last year disgusts me. During these last few weeks, I have gone undercover to try and get the opinions of real kids on SOLs. My interviews led me to make some groundbreaking discoveries. SOL tests are beyond important to a student’s mental health and vital in evaluating teachers.

      During these last few weeks, I have gone around collecting responses from real children. How I got these kids will remain a secret, but their feelings must be exposed. In an exclusive interview with an 11-year-old name Rose, I learned that she loves SOL tests more than she loves flowers. Between sobs, Rose reminisced about taking SOLs, declaring that she couldn’t bear the thought of not being in a big room with 100 other kids taking an exam that measures a student’s understanding of facts she had stayed up all night to memorize. 

      “Only a nincompoop would not want to take a test on where a comma goes,” said Rose, wiping her eyes. 

      The SOLs have been proven to be the only way to measure a child’s ability to retain useful information. Teachers and their various projects and assessments should never be trusted to do that.

This riveting question is an example of the cutting-edge test items that our students could  potentially miss out on thanks to the monsters at the department of education! (Photo courtesy of Virginia Department of Education)

      Rose was not the only child I managed to convince into giving me their opinion. Tommy is one of the many weak, spineless children who complain about high-stakes testing. Tommy is just a loser, and the other 16-20 percent of students who feel test anxiety are just faking their anxiety for pity. This statistic comes from Texas Christian University (TCU), but who really cares about what a bunch of Texans have to say about testing? For what it’s worth, these good-for-nothing liars should take more tests to build up a test immunity.

      The scam that has been online school also contributed to the temporary downfall of the last great bastion of the education system. Who thought that learning from home during a pandemic was a good idea? It is the body of the student after all, so shouldn’t they make their own decisions? The scamdemic shouldn’t stop our nation’s kids from doing what they do best: sitting at a desk and taking a test for multiple hours. And there is no way to simulate that in any other environment.

      Children are not the only ones afraid of not being able to prove their self-worth through the SOLs. Jennifer Estresada, an elementary school teacher who would only reply to my questions if I called her Miss Estresada, told me that if enough of her students fail an SOL test, she risks losing her job. With the lack of SOLs, Miss Estresada feels no motivation to teach her mouth breathing students the secrets to effective test-taking. 

      “How can we get rid of this tool that’s so effective at measuring how well a teacher can follow some curriculum put together by the top dogs?” Miss Estresada shouted into her coffee mug. Virginia Department of Education, who cares if students get sick? We cannot do this to our poor teachers. I offer my personal condolences to all teachers in Miss Estresada’s heart-wrenching situation.

      Some losers who can barely handle their jobs have claimed the test is beneath their high standards. Who cares that the tests focus less on critical thinking and more on random knowledge?

      Another thing the failed teachers like to decry is the short amount of time they get to cram information into their students’ heads. We certainly give them lots of time to administer the tests. I mean, look at all the time they get in May, when the bell schedule becomes wildly scrambled at the expense of everyone else’s sanity. Luckily, all the nagging complaints have not stopped Pearson (the company you can thank for the SOLs) from collecting their lucrative payout. In 2015, they made four billion dollars in North America alone. 

      If anything, that’s too little considering the incredible work they’ve done for us. I could not think of any better use for that money. Only a fool would want that money to go to socialist causes, like paying teachers a salary commensurate with that of other professionals, or investing in smaller class sizes! 

      I am thrilled knowing that tax dollars are paid to a corporation that writes stimulating and equitable writing prompts that effectively test writing skills. As an eleventh-grader, you might be asked to agree or disagree with laws restricting a driver’s use of a cell phone; meanwhile, the kid sitting  next to you is analyzing an abstract quote from a guy who died 200 years ago!  In fact, billions of dollars seems too little for this company’s great contribution to American exceptionalism. Pearson, I am sorry we failed you during this pandemic.

      While any person with half a brain knows the benefits of having SOLs, few dare to agree that there should be more at a time like this. To combat the new stigma plaguing high stakes testing, I borrowed a group of 12-year-olds and sat them down to take a test. Not only were the kids happy while testing, they even cried tears of joy when it was over! How can anyone be so cruel as to take this away from the children? We are leaving our kids behind, and it is unacceptable! Is this what George Bush would have wanted?

      SOLs are the crown jewel of the Virginia education system, and it is disgusting that they are treated worse than the children themselves. So what if there’s a pandemic? We need to focus on the more important things, the kids. Without SOLs, their mental health has suffered tremendously. The teachers suffer as well. Our only remedy is to give twice the number of SOLs. America, this is a desperate call to resuscitate our test-dependent education system.