A place for moms to connect
This is from a teacher in a closed FB group - a real account of what is happening in her classroom and from other accounts, in classrooms all across this country. If your child has a stomach ache or headaches every morning before school, or if he/she is acting out in ways you are unaccustomed to seeing- constant sadness, anger, frustration, regressive behavior...
High Stakes Literacy Assessment
He looked at me with sadness and confusion. “I don’t know what to do, Mrs. H.,” he said with frustration that was bringing him to tears. “It says to read this but I don’t know these words.” And his head went down and he looked away. He couldn’t bear to look at the screen that glared at him with a passage of nearly twenty words. As I comforted him with encouragement to continue and do the best that he could, I knew he was defeated and I didn’t do anything to help him.
This is a kindergarten student who reads regularly in class. A student who writes complete sentences often with ending punctuation and capitalization. A student who can re-tell a story with explicit detail and accurate sequence of events. This six year old and his classmates have been tested for now the fifth time with our district’s literacy assessment and evaluation tool and it has succeeded in not only providing “data” on his growth in literacy and numeracy but it has taught him that he can’t count on his teacher to help him when he needed me the most.
I am ashamed of myself. Remember this is a six year old. This is a child saying, “I don’t understand. Help me.” Teaching and learning is about helping. It is about trust. What we are doing in the name of “accountability” and “data driven” education is harming our students. I’ve been aware of it for some time but I lived it today. I can't do this to my students. It is not who I am as a teacher or a person."
I belong to BATS (BadAss TeacherS) because I believe that Common Core and high stakes testing is creating a group of children that are being abused by the constant testing, they are not learning because Common Core was NOT created by education specialists (not a single one) and until we all speak up and opt out to stop the money flow to Pearson, Koch Bros, Walton and Gates Foundation this will not stop--it will get worse. The money needs to come back to the district to fund full time certified teachers not subs for Teach for America warm bodies. Our children deserve much better! If you are a teacher and need a voice--I can be that for you as I don't have to worry about my job. If you are a teacher or parent/grandparent/concerned person--there are groups on FB specifically for this-please consider joining. If you need help with opting out--I'm here and we also have a national group for that with all the letters, forms, what the options are and more. Cherie
Way to much emphasis is put on the FCAT, but how you handle it as a parent or teacher also affects how the kids feel about it. My foster daughter does pretty well in school and when we've talked about the FCAT which she took last week, I just told her to do her best like she would on every test but not to worry that she won't do well because she's a good student. We didn't treat it like anything especially out of the ordinary or a huge stressful event, so it didn't become one. This teacher could have just reassured her student and told him to try his best and that's all he needed to do; that he was doing a good job and didn't have to know every single word on the page. I think there should be some kind of standardized testing but it shouldn't determine a child's whole future.
I agree with Kathy. And I would say the vast majority of teachers are doing just that. They aren't trying to stress kids out about the test because they know that doesn't help anything. Teachers aren't the problem. It's easy to blame them because they are the ones parents and caregivers come in contact with, but the VAST majority of teachers just want to educate and nurture children. They don't want to cause panic and they want to be able to teach.
Also I'm not sure opting out is the way to fix everything. It only puts pressure on the teachers and administrators and doesn't really change anything. Spend your time writing your legislators and working to change the standards if your problem is with the tests. I'm not sure the people who really control the tests even care if kids are opting out.
The teachers and schools have no choice because it is what they are directed to do by the district. Opting out is at this point the only choice since the politicians are not listening to the people of Florida--it stops the money flow to Pearson,etc and when they stop making money off our kids then they will stop paying off the politicians. Today they voted on vouchers--again. In the fall the people of Florida voted NO on the expansion of vouches--so why is it that suddenly it is up again for vote in our state? Because the people who own the charter schools (Charter Schools USA, etc) and those who will profit from the expansion have forced it on the voting floor again to get what they want. If you have not been paying attention to what is going on --then you have no idea of how bad it truly is. The districts are replaced certified teachers (Duval is doing it this year) with TFA (Teach for America) --which means that warm bodies, who have a Bacherlors degree in something but not education but are given "6 weeks training" will be replacing veteran, certified teachers (who have an degree in education) this fall. WHY? Because they will do what they are told. Do they know how to teach your children? No they do not. Can they spot reading issues, learning disabilities and more? No, most of them don't even know how to manage a classroom much less control it. This happened in Chicago and all over the US--there is not a shortage of certified, trained teachers but they are pushing for more privatization and to remove certified teachers because those people will not oppose constantly testing kids. They do what they are told where teachers who have been trained on how kids learn--will fight back until they are fired. Which is happening constantly too. You don't have to subject your kids to this--there is nothing in the law that states (thanks to Alabama's supreme court looking at it) that your children MUST take any high stakes test--nothing at all. The teachers are in a no win situation--it is time to stop it all. Let the teachers teach--they went to school to be experts on it. Not a single educator of any type wrote any part of Common Core (now called Florida Standards). Not one. Yes, Caraline those who are controlling the tests are fighting hard to keep every single kid taking them because they are making a ton of $$ off of them --everything from the test prep materials to the test to selling your family's data to whomever they please because when you say it is ok for your child to take those tests--you say it is ok for them to sell your family's data. I am a teacher--I am a part of a national group fighting to stop high stakes testing and return the control of education to the local area and parents.