she is riding a bugaboo.

today was my first day of part-time, temporary, night-shift "work," grading papers. there were 120 of us, and we were all herded into this giant room filled with rows and rows of computers. my first night of training only reaffirmed my belief that all standardized tests are useless. i can't believe how much money and time goes into scoring a child's ability to write "the boys are playing music." that, by the way, would score only a 2 out of 3, since, by california state standards, it's not "complex" enough. to earn a 3, one would have to say, "the boys are playing their instruments."

basically, students have to write a sentence based on a picture. what really struck me, though, was that california decided "in a band" is so "commonly used" that it would have to be considered "not complex enough," and the student would only earn a 2.

meagan once told me, and i agreed with her on this, that it's scary to think some people have dedicated their entire lives to such idiocy, to such a waste of time. she said this in reference to the woman who gave our americorps group a presentation on the meyers-briggs test, the same woman who admitted that she does this on a regular basis.

but randy, our trainer, or manager (whatever the fuck you want to call him) for the night didn't really strike me as someone who really devoted himself to this, even though he said he's been doing it since before 2001. he kept joking about leaving early, and once, while talking about the whole "in a band" being overused, he said, "you know, the kid puts it down. it's too bad, but what can you do. i just score it, and later, a paycheck comes."

the only requirement to work at this place is that you have a college degree. this struck me as odd, since randy had to spell out a lot of things. like "scooter." or "trombone." maybe people were fucking with him, asking him to repeat the correct spellings, but then again, you have to remember that all of this is taking place on the old mather air force base.

to pass the time, i played with my fingernails and watched the screensaver change colors and shapes.

i think everyone there agrees that standardized tests are ridiculous, and what's even more ludicrous is that we're being paid $10 an hour to score a third grade ELD student's ability to form a single sentence. but, whatever. you just quell those thoughts, and sooner or later, a paycheck arrives.

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