Archive | 11:14 AM

A Busy Weekend

3 May

State Science Fair was a bust. It was very unorganized. Once again, they rely on parental volunteers to do the judging. That means that the judging is mediocre at best. Gianna’s judges must not have paid attention to the instructions. I’ve been a judge before at the local and regional level. There’s training (albeit short) that you go through and there’s a rubric that you need to follow. Gianna’s judges didn’t take her paper to read through the documentation and research – even after it was offered numerous times. They said they didn’t need it. They listened to the presentation and asked only one follow up question. They gave almost no feedback. The only potentially negative comment would not have been a negative comment at all if they would have read the paper. There wasn’t a published agenda for the day, so after 4.5 hours we left. I have no idea if there were awards and where and when they were held. No one that we came with nor any of the other parents I talked to knew what was going on either. I assume she will get some feedback mailed back to her school. We drove 5 hours each way to attend the fair. I continue to be surprised at the low amount of effort we as a community, state, and nation put into academics. Do you think we’d have a state basketball tournament and ask for volunteer referees? That these volunteer refs would get less than an hour of training? That the refs could individually decide to not have the players actually play, but that they could just talk to the players for less than 5 minutes and decide the winner?  I have no idea if she won anything, what place she got, etc. and it doesn’t matter. The prize would be meaningless since there is nothing there to back it up. It was frustrating for me as a parent. Imagine how she felt after putting in literally 100s of hours into this project and the judges could not be bothered to spend 15 minutes reading and discussing the paper in order to fairly judge her project! I (politely) complained and the people in charge agreed to re-judge the project.  She waited on the floor for another 2 hours and no one showed up to re-judge it. 

Pardon for the rant, but it is very frustrating as a parent and an educator. I don’t know where the blame lies. After four kids, this is our last science fair. I have mixed emotions. The kids have learned a lot because we as a family really get into science fair and the projects picked. I will try to concentrate on the increased learning that the kids gained and not about awards and contests.