Thursday, January 31, 2008

U.S. Department of Education Joining Forces with Department of Homeland Security


U. S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, joined by Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff, announced today the creation of a new strong-arm agency of the Department of Homeland Security to be charged with the task of protecting and defending the security and accuracy of the nation's standardized test data. The Test Security Operations Center will train security officers to patrol our nation's K-12 schools during the administration of standardized tests.

The agency will be headed by former drill sergeant and part-time mud wrestler Brunhilda Briarballs. "She'll serve us well," mused Spellings, noting that Briarballs is notorious among military insiders as having 'scared the crap' out of many strapping young military recruits. "They don't call her Bulldozer for nothing," quipped Spellings, "and there's no doubt we can expect her to take a hard nosed approach when addressing testing irregularities which can potentially impact the security of the tests or the accuracy of the data."

Any event which might be construed as having the potential to compromise the security or accuracy of the test data will constitute a security breach and will result in a school's failure to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) toward the federally mandated target of 100% proficiency of all students by the year 2014. A teacher who is involved in a compromising event, such as administering an encouraging pat on the back to a struggling student during testing, will be subject to stern disciplinary measures. Spellings explained that such a gesture, while seemingly innocent to the untrained eye, could actually be a signal to the student that they have answered an item incorrectly.

As part of her dual capabilities, Briarballs will also head the Office of Testing Emergency Preparedness. In the event of a natural disaster or terrorist attack occurring during the administration of The Tests, first responders will be dispatched to herd and guard students and teachers while the tests are being gathered and propelled to underground shelters for safekeeping.

Spellings became visibly irritated when a reporter asked if the practice of high-stakes testing itself didn't actually encourage cheating, given that educators' jobs and the survival of their schools depend on their reaching a goal that is neither mathematically nor humanly possible to achieve. She responded, "We know that the very vast majority of teachers do not cheat. However, only with the implementation of these measures can we be guaranteed that we have objective proof of whether public schools are doing their job of ensuring that all children are average or above by 2014."

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