Mercer County, N.J. - In an effort to increase standardized test scores and prevent a state takeover, a New Jersey school district has banned its students from asking questions in class.
A letter from the superintendent announcing the ban was posted on the school district's website. The letter pointed out that recent budget cuts have caused an increase in class size throughout every grade. "As a result, if thirty-five students in a forty-five minute class each ask one question, there wouldn't be enough time for the teacher to teach to the test.', the superintendent explained.
A poll taken by the teachers' union the day after the ban was announced showed that every teacher in the district supported the ban, due in part to a new tenure law which ties teacher job approval with standardized test scores.
"Higher test scores will let both the administrators and the teachers keep their jobs in addition to keeping the state off our back." , the principal of the district's failing high school told reporters.
Even though critics of the ban acknowledge that any strategy used in a classroom that minimizes distractions and increases time on task should never be overlooked, many experts agree that this particular ban won't make much of a difference in the classroom because research has shown that the majority of public school students raise their hand in class to ask permission to go to the bathroom and not for any scholarly inquisitiveness.
According to school officials students can still ask to go to the bathroom, but they have to ask quickly.