We’ve never been fans of standardized tests for school kids as a way to measure the success of a student, a teacher, a school, a school system. In Illinois the perpetual rejiggering of the standardized tests effectively makes comparables across years impossible. There is most certainly racial bias/insensitivity built into the tests. And we don’t put credence in the argument, “It’s a snapshot of a moment worth capturing.” Heaven knows the moment captured in the COVIDinduced remote learning environment of last spring is going to be aberration piled on aberration.
So on the list of concerns we have about the needed turnaround in the District 91 Forest Park Elementary Schools, poring over standardized test scores doesn’t rank high.
We’re more interested in the various other testing strategies the district has come to employ in recent years. Not that those numbers have been particularly encouraging, but their focus on ongoing testing across a school year, testing that measures a single student’s progress against their own past efforts is, to us, testing that is actionable by a classroom teacher, a school principal, a family.
That said, the puny numbers posted across the district in last spring’s standardized testing are, we hope, a floor from which the new administration can gradually rise.
Holiday Walk returns
A lot of mixed feelings as we watched families gather along Madison Street, Friday evening, for the return of the fabulous Chamber of Commerce Holiday Walk. Yes, crowds were smaller than past years when the street was packed store window to curb with genuinely delighted folks. But it was still a crowd in a moment when the delta variant of COVID is actively pushing up transmission of the virus.
That said, among our mixed feelings was tempered joy. After last year’s holiday event was rightly and fully cancelled due to COVID, it was wonderful to see the masked faces of our kids strolling the main street of their hometown. Wonderful, too, to see our persevering independent merchants, restaurants and bars put on a show for their customers and potential customers.
OK, and after years of wearing giant papier-mache heads of fictional characters in the window of Grand Appliance, it was a happy circumstance that the Review’s leading Forest Parker, Jill Wagner, invented an ingenious “printing press” for the display. It was full-tilt Review on a very Forest Park evening.
Let’s keep plugging on pushing up vaccination numbers so we can beat this crafty and debilitating pandemic into submission during 2022.