I’m running in a wooded swamp. It’s murky and dirty and foggy. All I can smell is sulfur and I can’t see my hand in front of my face. But I can hear my 8 year old is screaming for me, crying, yelling my name and I can’t find him. I’m covered in a think, choking fog and then I wake up in a cold sweat.
Okay, okay, this is a bit dramatic but I had this dream the other night. The same night after my son forgot his homework folder on Tuesday and his lunch bag on Wednesday. I finally sat down with my oldest and said, “What’s with you?’ That’s when the floodgates opened and tears began to fall and the bitter truth about the FCAT began to pour out of him.
8 year old: I’m worried about the FCAT (sobbing)
Me: What are you worried about that for? You’re a wonderful student
8 year old: It’s a “High Stakes Test” (and he did air quotes for me, freaking air quotes) and I’m worried about my score.
And that’s when I knew that this whole thing was screwed up.
My son is a really smart and genuine kid. He’s a great student, a loyal friend, a good athlete, and his IQ is over 130. He can mentally run circles around his Father and I, when he wants to (he is only 8). With all that in mind he’s worried about the FCAT. Beyond worried, he’s petrified.
I cant say that I blame him. In the last month I’ve received papers upon papers about how the FCAT is coming, how we (as parents) can prepare our kids for the FCAT. Make sure they’ve eaten the morning of the test, (like I don’t feed my kid). Write them a letter for the day of the test (like I don’t communicate with my child). Study and practice and review past tests with them (like I don’t drill my son and work with him all year round).
The State of Florida is driving the schools crazy. The schools are driving the teachers crazy. And then, they are handing that crazy down to my son.
This merit pay issue is insane. To even imagine that a teachers actual worth is based upon the scores of their students, who come from all walks of life, with a specific skill set, and take ONE Test!! ONE TEST! that can determine if they correctly have done their job, is asinine.
I’m saying it out loud, right now; The FCAT only teaches our children one lesson, and personally, It’s not the correct one. It teaches them that the journey doesn’t matter, only the destination. And I think that’s bullshit.