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The PJ Tatler

Bryan Preston


April 2, 2013 - 1:26 pm

Educators deliver heavy-handed lesson to kid for the crime, basically, of being a kid.

“I was being a high school kid getting on Twitter,” [Arlington, TX junior Kyron Birdine] explained.

Using an iPad, he tweeted a photo of the word YOLO (“you only live once”) and a smiley face scribbled on the essay portion of the exam, along with this declaration: “I have the TAKS test to study for, not this unneeded craziness.”

He sent it to Arlington ISD and the Texas Education Agency.

The junior, who nearly has a 3.0 grade point average and a high score on the PSAT, will be graduating under TAKS testing standards, not STAAR.

“It wasn’t for a grade,” Kyron said. “Colleges don’t see it. It didn’t benefit my personal life at all.”

But STAAR impacts the money that public schools get.

After the tweet, school officials yanked him from class, called his parents, claimed he had violated the test’s security somehow, and handed him a four-day in school suspension.

Kind of ridiculous. Kind of Stalinist, actually, unless blue lines on a white page are a STAAR state secret. It looks like they’ll hang him on this.

Any student’s cell phones will be confiscated before testing begins. If one does not turn in a cell phone to the proctor before the test and the cell phone rings during the test, a student’s test scores will be invalidated, and the proctor, along with the student, will be dealt with by an administrator. The proctor or student may wind up in legal trouble.

The real security violation in this case is that the student is openly contemptuous of the bureaucrats.

He had to delete the tweet, and apparently has taken one Twitter stream private. He has another with no tweets, and the only message there is “I’m just chill.”

Birdine sounds like a good kid, and he isn’t alone in being skeptical of the STAAR testing regime.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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All Comments   (3)
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As a former educator (one year out of the game) I know that often any testing security violation carries with it serious problems for the school from state authorities. Having a device that can produce an image of the test present in a room where a test is being administered constitutes such a violation. That being the case, it might not be appropriate to blame the local administration. That does not mean there is not a problem, just that the problem is higher up the chain. We struggled with mandatory testing that did not impact the future of the student in my state as well, and I find the concept objectionable.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not sure I like the penalty. They should have investigated the incident, and if no harm was done let him off.

On the other hand, what kind of idiot brings an iPad to a proctored standardized test? If you think the test is BS, don't even show up for it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Do you really think he has that option? The edureaucracy needs him in that seat for its funding.

Government schools are like The Matrix: the kids are a source -- of money rather than energy, but just as vital to the consumer thereof.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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