Is This an April Fools Joke?

What in your context would make a great April Fools joke – except that it’s true? 

What in your context would make a great April Fools joke – except that it’s true?

Here’s my entry: I teach algebra for high school credit to 8th graders who are the top math students in my school. In previous years, they would take the eighth grade standardized test in math even though they had studied ninth grade material all year.

We would spend no class time reviewing eighth grade material. To prepare the students for the test I would send home 13 practice problems a week. When testing came in April, almost everyone met or exceeded the standard.

This year Arizona is rolling out it’s new Common Core based test. Based on sample tests, the algebra problems are easily two years ahead of where we really are and eighth grade math is at least as hard as last year’s algebra test.

That was ok for my kids, whom I assumed would still be taking the eighth grade test as usual, but bad for the rest of the grade. But then I learned my kids will be taking both! Really. No, Really! During testing week, they’ll take the eighth grade test, which they’re prepared for because they studied ninth grade math. Then during the make up week, they’ll be pulled out of classes that are trying to catch up after the testing week to take the ninth grade test. 

What a great reward for our top students. When I asked a state official why, she said, “That’s what other states do.” I really wished I had asked how the testing companies convinced policy makers that having students take tests from multiple grades did anyone but testing companies any good.

I also wish I could say, “Happy April Fools Day!”  But I can’t. 

Can you match that? Let’s hear.

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  • Anon Y Mous


    All those multi page applications with essays that I submitted in response to actual job listings? They don't even rate a "thanks, we got it" or a "thanks but no thanks." That three-person panel interview I went on? And then sent personal thank you notes to each interviewer? Zero follow-up from that district. Not treated professionally before I'm even hired – wish it was April Fools.

  • BillIvey

    All I can do is…

    … sigh loudly and clap my hand to my forehead. Well… I could also suggest mobilizing a groundswell of support to email this state official daily protesting this policy until it is retracted. The subject header could be, “If your friends all jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?”

    • SandyMerz

      Or maybe…

      …why don’t you and all your friends jump off a cliff?

      • BillIvey

        Don’t hold back…

        … say what you really think. 😉

  • Ron King

    Pre-Algebra & Algebra
    Yes, sad state of affairs isn’t it? I teach algebra in Washington state and we’ve had the same level of insanity for the past 5 years. Only in our state, passing the EOC for Algebra and again for Geometry was a graduation requirement. With the onset of CCSS, the requirement is either pass the algebra or the geometry EOC. Only now it appears the new test may be insanely difficult!

  • SusanGraham

    Learning the Basics

    The Powers That Be would express great concern about childhood obesity, personal financial literacy, and effective parenting while closing down Family and Consumer Education programs because seriously, what real value could there be in a program that includes nutrition and food preparation, managing a household budget, making good consumer choices, human development, or family relationships?

    It is a proven fact that success in adult life is contingent on an appreciation for Beowolf, mastery of the Periodic Tables, and of course, proficiency in Calculus…….Or maybe not so much?

    • CarlDraeger

      This is why I spent 5 years

      This is why I spent 5 years teaching math in the old Metals shop. I got to hang with teachers who taught kids practical things that they will use when they’re living on their own. Heck, I learned from them between classes. It has never been about learning about something, it has always been about using what you have learned.


      Susan, point taken and appreciated.

  • BillIvey

    My “proficiency” in Calculus! lol.

    In seriousness, my kids were discussing sexuality today as one of them did her individual Focus Question essay and presentation on “Should we teach sexuality in schools?” They felt strongly that we should, and moreover that we needed to include a full diversity of sexualities. So pop that up next to the other genuine Life Skills you proposed (or make sure it’s included in “human development”). 🙂

  • JustinMinkel

    True story from a state test manual (later modified) reads…

    In the event of a tornado or other emergency,

    1. Secure test materials

    2. See to the safety of students


    • SandyMerz


      That’s one for the books, Justin. It makes my day. Thanks. I can’t stop laughing. I keep picturing it in a movie.