Saturday, July 30, 2016

There are major costs to Corporate-driven "Education Reform." | Alternet

One Mother's Story: How Overemphasis on Standardized Tests Caused Her 9-Year-Old to Try to Hang Himself | Alternet:

One Mother's Story: How Overemphasis on Standardized Tests Caused Her 9-Year-Old to Try to Hang Himself

There are major costs to corporate-driven "education reform."


“…I received a note from my son's teacher telling me hed failed the FCAT [Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test] by one point. The note said hed have to take a reading class over the summer and retestWe werent alarmed as he only had to score one more point to be promoted
“…a few weeks later his teacher called. [My son] had failed the test, again by ONE point!
“…I didnt tell him, but the next day [he] told me he knew hed failed because if he had passed wed have been told by the school and be celebrating. I liedtold him it takes several days and wed know soon, but he insisted hed failed.
It was dinner time. I called down the hall and asked what he wanted to drink with dinner. No response. I figured he was watching television in his room and hadnt heard. A few moments later I called again. Again, no response.
I can't tell you what it was that came over me, just that it was a sick feeling. I threw the hot pads I had in my hands on the counter and ran down the hall to [his] room, banged on the door and called his name. No response. I threw the door open. There was my perfect, nine-year-old freckled son with a belt around his neck hanging from a post on his bunk bed. His eyes were blank, his lips blue, his face emotionless. I dont know how I had the strength to hoist him up and get the belt off but I did, then collapsed on the floor and held [him] as close to my heart as possible. There were no words. He didnt speak and for the life of me I couldnt either. I was physically unable to form words. I shook as I held him and felt his heart racing.
Id saved [him]! No, not really… I saved him physically, but mentally he was goneThe next 18 months were terrible. It took him six months to make eye contact with me. He secluded himself from friends and family. He didnt laugh for almost a year…”
Her son had to repeat the third grade. That happened five years ago, and she says the damage continues: Currently, [he] could be driving with a learners permit but he refuses. Why? Because 'eighth grade kids don't drive.' If new friends saw him theyd know hed failed a grade... Retention is repetitive and lasts a lifetime. It's never far from his mind, just as seeing him blue and hanging from his bunk bed sticks in mine.
For years, this story was a family secret. A mutual acquaintance, knowing from my Knight-Ridder/Tribune columns that I had repeatedly attacked the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test not just as a waste of time, money and human potential, but as child abuse, gave this mother my email address and suggested she write me. I met with the mother and child personally and can vouch for the fact that they do indeed exist.
If failing to reach the pass-fail cut score by just one point wasn’t within every One Mother's Story: How Overemphasis on Standardized Tests Caused Her 9-Year-Old to Try to Hang Himself | Alternet:

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