How to Destroy Education, Teaching, and Children with Four Letters

It’s always a nice feeling when you get wind of goings-on that makes you think: I’m not alone. Below are excerpts from an article by Scott Travis in the Sun Sentinel of south Florida.

Broward County school leaders are speaking out against what they see as a nasty four-letter word: FCAT.

FCAT official blue logo

“The School Board unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday opposing standardized testing as the primary means for evaluating schools, students and teachers. They say there is so much focus on students doing well on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test that it’s thwarting teacher creativity and hindering students’ ability to learn. [my italics]

“They say many students are being poorly educated on subjects not directly tested on the FCAT, including history, art and music. At the same time, the tests have become so stressful that kids are staying home sick, skipping school and dropping out, they said.

“This is destroying public education, destroying the teaching profession and destroying children,” School Board member Robin Bartleman said. “The classroom should be fun. Kids should be excited about learning and not be afraid they’re going to be punished for one test.
“The resolution asks Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida Department of Education and state and federal lawmakers to revamp state and federal accountability systems so that they include a variety of measures to determine how students perform. The resolution claims standardized testing is “an inadequate and often unreliable measure of both student learning and educator effectiveness.”

“The effort is part of a national movement, where parent groups and school boards are signing petitions and resolutions opposing high stakes testing. The Palm Beach County School District passed a similar resolution in April, and Martin and St. Lucie counties have also joined the fight.

[Holy Crap. Not alone is right!]

“Anti-FCAT sentiment has intensified in recent weeks, as this year’s test scores have proved disappointing. Third-grade reading and math scores dropped slightly, while writing scores for several grades were so abysmal that the state Board of Education voted in an emergency meeting to loosen the school grading criteria so there wouldn’t be large numbers of failing schools.

“Officials from the Department of Education and Gov. Scott’s office couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday, despite attempts by phone and email.

[What a surprise. It starting to sound like the barricade scene from Les Miz. Wake up, legislators!]

“Opposition to the FCAT was strong in the board room Wednesday, with students, parents and teachers sharing horror stories.

“It’s caused a lot of anxiety for me,” said Blaire Hirt, 17, a senior at Piper High School in Sunrise. “The morning of the FCAT writing, I threw up.”

[Thanks and kudos to Scott Travis for the story, and to the concerned parents of Florida, whom we hope will communicate to the folks responsible for killing arts education, creativity, and ultimately harming society in deeply insidious ways. It’s time to kill narrow, standardized testing and return to well-rounded education that includes music, art, drama,  and sports for everyone, where teachers can really educate, explore subjects without being slaves to teaching only to tests.]