Tomorrow night, my little nub of the K-12 educational universe is having “Pride Night.” It’s quite the traditional at my school. When I first got there in 2004, I spent the first two or three years thinking “Pride Night” was a pretty darn impressive showcase for our LGBT community. I really did. How foolish of me.
Then I came to understand it was actually about “things we are proud of doing at my little nub.” Over the years I’ve been both directly and indirectly involved, but recent years have seen a perceptible wane in our unique offerings, so this year’s “Pride Night” reflects the new K-12 reality. Nowadays, it’s pretty much just the band, orchestra and a few appropriately selected offerings:
Standardized Testing Pavilion: A large room is devoted to showcase students using #2 pencils to circle their multiple choice answers, heavy and dark, making sure to fill the entire bubble. To add the proper ambiance, attendees will be given numbing agents and a “fruit snack” to aid with “mental activity.” Teachers will act as “proctors,” incessantly reminding everyone to not go past the “STOP” sign after question 23.
Teacher Evaluation Showcase: A Laurie Anderson-esque multi-media slide show/film/flow chart will vividly demonstrate the myriad formulas used to determine teacher effectiveness under the new evaluation protocols. Ringing the cafeteria setting will be teachers re-enacting their emotions about the process in a “Stations of the Cross” configuration. Crowns of thorns and prodigious amounts of produced blood will be much in evidence. A “Hanna Skandera” effigy will be hung while “she” flagellates station sufferers with a cat o’ nine tails. Wailings and Gregorian Chants will be broadcast over the event in Sensurround between continuous-loop soundbytes of Governor Susana Martinez press conferences.
Lost Electives Treasure Hunt: Given clues and a curricular map, attendees will desperately search for all the electives lost in the last few years at my school due to increased testing requirements and teacher licensure scrutiny. Special prizes will be given for “Find the French Class” and “Uncovering the Lost Film Elective.” All winners will receive a special choice to receive a “Forced Elective” prize, consisting of a Slinky, regardless of what they actually prefer.
“Data Room” Haunted House: Adults over the age of 21, but only who dare, will enter this room festooned with black lights, dry ice fog and a bewildering set of handwritten “data” on SBA scores from 2011-2013. Halloween sound effects records will play while those who dare enter are shocked to involuntary urination with obscure numbers and meaningless category groupings. Nurses will be on-hand for those who succumb to the fear, madness and tendency to urinate uncontrollably. Caution: No one will be admitted after the start of the climatic “Q3 Math Matrix” scene!