It is with pride and importunity that I declare the Testivus Season open!
Festivities throughout the nation begin on the evening prior to the “window of testing” in each state, city or district. Actual dates may be adjusted locally to ensure the greatest disruption of learning and sufficient failure rates.
For those of the audience unfamiliar with the traditions and activities of Testivus, a brief description of the events to be endured:
The Testivus Breakfuss
It is best to begin the ceremony with the spooning of the pabulum. This ensures that all else imbibed, devoured, masticated, swallowed or otherwise consumed is swathed in a flaccid layer of tasteless gruel. Celebrants often comment on the direct comparison to our annual testing marathon, which is wrapped in a film of educational obeisance to the god of mammon and the lesser god, Marzano the Minimal.
If you can swallow that (along with the pabulum), the rest is easy:
Querical Cannelloni—questions about black holes, right whales, and Mylie Cyrus are baked into narrow pasta tubes and served with vinaigrette. Devotees swallow the pasta whole and belch their answers to each edible query. Loose interpretation of vocalizations is encouraged. This event is rumored to be a possible replacement for the SAT essay next year.
Toasts to Testivius—Nods of disapproval are directed toward effigies of politicians, wealthy “philanthropists,” Pearson officials and others who have advanced the cause of standardized testing. Doses of cod liver oil are distributed between nods to facilitate the feelings of discomfort these persons have bestowed upon teachers. Lucky winners receive an effigy for their school honor societies to use as a night light for pretest cramming.
Testivus Miracles are verified and ridiculed. In the past year, two astounding singularities were subject to catcalls at Breakfusses around the nation:
- A Bleating Miracle—The absolute absence of a general uprising of teachers against all standardized testing was recently announced as the Department of Education’s greatest accomplishment by Randi Weingarten, who subsequently accepted the Medal of Confounding Compliance on behalf of her zombified teacher’s union in a very private ceremony.
- The Where’s William? Oddity— In what can only be classified as a miracle escape, Bill Gates failed to debate the doughty Mercedes Schneider concerning his abuse of democracy and public education. He did, however, did appear to shill for his CCSS offspring in Washington, DC. It will be a miracle for the ages if Gates can avoid public humiliation by means of either his avoidance tactics or his debating skill during the Inter-Testivi Doldrums.
Following the Breakfuss, no discussion or mention of the events related to standardized testing is permitted until the final #2 pencil is re-sharpened, the computer labs are re-opened to daily desecration, and final attempts to get opt-out parents to rescind decisions have been abandoned.
Guilt and self-loathing are appropriate throughout.
The Testivus Hole
The final, and most sacred event of the season is the digging of a Testivus hole, excavated by hand with an entrenching tool on public land or by backhoe on Gates Foundation property (there are those who believe that popping the top of the nearest sewer hole is a righteous alternative) …into which is placed all evidence of personal participation in the past year’s federally mandated tests, including, but not limited to:
- Mandatory staff training notices
- Proctor training session sign-in sheets
- The cremated remains of any U. S. Dept. of Education officials or state assessment coordinators who are at hand
- Disturbing—Do Not Test signs once posted on classroom doors
- Copies of testing protocols
- Student bathroom passes (placed in Ziploc® bags for safe handling)
- Losing Lotto tickets, purchased in moments of lucid desperation
- Official testing calendars and class schedules
- Receipts for snacks issued to students—(may not include items for personal use)
- Testing tickets for logging on to malfunctioning electronic test sites
- Test booklets smuggled home for pre-reading and lesson-planning
- Sheets of lined yellow pre-writing paper (with student names at top)
- Lists of pupils to be sent to alternate testing areas or for make-up tests
Under no circumstance should lists of students who have opted out of testing be included. No ceremony is to be wasted here, a wanton disregard for used testing materials is considered de rigeur, and fresh splashes of effluvia on the discarded documents prized.
During the dumping of the documents, a sacred chant is performed (customarily muttered under the breath to the rhythm of the Horst-Wessel-Lied or any ABBA tune):
Blessed be our Gatesmeister,
for he provides the fodder for the Testivus season!
And hail the Duncanology that the hole represents:
Dark, empty, vapid, and utterly without merit.
© David Sudmeier, 2014