THOMPSON: "So, I Won't Be Graduating"
Standardized testing season has closed and everyone feels horrible. Its time to comfort and energize discouraged students, especially the freshmen who must pass four End of Instruction (EOI) tests in order to graduate.
The adults in the school, however, are equally demoralized. The EOI teachers have given their all. Some claim their students gave in to test anxiety and would have done better had the teacher been allowed to provide encouragement. Others beat themselves up over their failure to cover more of the "scope and sequence" guide. Several are already adjusting next year’s lesson plans. This time of year, though, even our most fervent believers in "high expectations" have to recognize the damage done by NCLB testing. You would have to be a stone to have shared the building with our teenagers for the last three weeks and not recognize the self-defeating nature of test-driven accountability and the real harm it inflicts on children.
The students and the adults in our building have all been shamed. The kids react to the humiliation in predictably inappropriate and self-destructive ways. Most of the adults, however, are already discussing plans for next year. As hard as it is for some to admit it, we all recognize the need for reinforcements. We are now united in asking for more people to help with the social and emotional needs of our children. We need a restoration of electives. We need help from the community. - John Thompson