Is it testing or punishment?

From Momma Bear

Thank you for writing this (The FCAT is here, keep your kids at home). Had I seen it earlier, I might have spared my child a very bad day.

I love educators, have the utmost respect and admiration for them. Most of them. I used to give all teachers the benefit of the doubt.  No longer.

Whether one thinks they are simply following the letter of the law or not, as a fellow human being and the adult charged with supporting the education and well-being of (often young) children, one ALWAYS has a choice. The teachers and staff “handling” my 8-year old child yesterday had a choice. They had my written refusal. They had no problem pushing this test on her through their smiles, in direct opposition of my express refusal, not request. 

They pulled her to make up yesterday’s test as I had brought her to school after testing yesterday. She was seated at a conference table with two other kids testing and the ESE Specialist seated across from her… 

She was given the test, and was told, “You can start the test now.” She held out for 5 minutes, in silence, as the ESE Specialist watched and smiled at her. Can you imagine how long that 5 minutes was for her? In her words, “She was watching me… so I took the test. I was mad when she gave me the test, and I was mad during the whole test.” Of course. She did exactly as they planned. She was disappointed in herself, until I told her that she did good, and did not let me down. I am FURIOUS!  Should have seen it coming.  Even after that, her innocence lets her believe the best and lets her do what I cannot… forgive.  She says, “I don’t think she wanted to make me take the test. I think the County makes her do it.”

She still does not want to test, and I won’t put her in that position again.  So I’ll keep her home for the next 8 days of testing. 

What must it do to their psyche to force so young a child to do something they KNOW goes against the wishes of that child’s parents? What do they have to tell themselves to be able to look their own kids in the eye after that? I wonder how many consider how THEY might feel to have someone else force their own child to do something against their own wishes as a parent.

Maybe when I’m not so bitter and angry, I will think differently and can be more generous. Right now, I think their behavior was unconscionable, no matter what the Law says. Don’t we have enough examples in history where good people were doing horrible things, and they were simply following the Law? We have had many bad laws on the books. Not everyone followed them. There were many who were able to listen instead, to their conscience, and did the right thing, sometimes at great cost to themselves. Going along, not choosing, not looking, not seeing – are also choices. 

I don’t make excuses for bad behavior anymore.  Not anyone’s. 

They have poked the Momma Bear.

One Reply to “Is it testing or punishment?”

  1. Unacceptable! When we lived in Florida, a year before my oldest was to take FCAT, I inquired about the process of opting out to see what they said. The state said there is no process. I replied that the test is child abuse and I will report those who test my child to the authorities. They had no response, but then we moved out of state. I do think I would have kept my children home during the entire testing period because I know how underhanded and sneaky those fools are. By the way, I am a former teacher. I also want to mention that you may be able to get them in trouble because of the time/date they had the child take the test. Not sure, but it may be worth a call to DOE. Good luck! And yes, your child did good!

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