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Zach's Story


Ohanian Comment: I think no one with a detectible pulse rate will be able to read this and not get up and send a contribution to FCAR or to the test resistance group in her state. Hey, you can even send me a contribution for the CD Songs of Resistance.

Whatever, don't just sit there. Speak out. Contribute.

Florida Coalition for Assessment Reform
FCAR is a grassroots organization that provides resources and assistance to parents, teachers, students, and other citizens who support constructive assessment. Exciting things are happening. Check it out!

http://www.fcar.info

Go to Meet Up on March 2.
Here's more information:

http://susanohanian.org/show_nclb_stories.html?id=112


Zack

His name is "Zack" and he is in the 3rd grade for the second year because he "failed" the FCAT test last year (Florida's test....3rd graders must pass with a certain score or be retained). Anyway, we had a wonderful speaker
for an assembly today who hooted, hollered, had the kids dancing, and preached the gospel of eating well, resting, and "relaxing" before the big test. At the end of the session, while all of the excited boys, girls, and teachers celebrated and danced the "I Can-Can", there
sat "Zack", on the media center floor, crying.

He tried to keep his tears hidden, but I couldn't help noticing him because he was the only child sitting on the floor, and I
was afraid he was scared of all the "hoopla". I went to him, gave him a hug and said, "What's the matter, Zack?"

He completely broke down and said, "I'm worried. . . .I'm going to have to go to the third grade again next year if I don't do good on the FCAT test. I don't think I can do it, and I'm supposed to think I can, but I can't."

He cried and cried and there I stood hugging him as all the kids and adults around us celebrated and "hooped it up".

I walked him to his class, encouraged him to give his dad the note I had sent home earlier in the week announcing his ribbon award for his artwork at our county fair, and told him to tell his dad I would very much like it if they
would go and see the artwork and then have fun on the rides. He said he was sorry for forgetting to give his dad the note. He has to do FCAT Explorer for 40 minutes every night when he gets home from school and he forgot to
give his dad the note.

I went to my AP's office and broke down myself. This child's dad has been "driving" him all year at home. Zack is in extended day tutoring, and at the end of the day the other day he was in the media on FCAT Explorer while all
the other children celebrated their "Fun Friday". He has just "had it", and I am so upset.

Zach clearly excels in art (especially painting), but did not even have it in himself to be proud of his accomplishment of being the ONLY child in our school to place in the
competitive juried exhibit.

I told him to go to the fair, go outside and play every day if he can, and try to forget
about the test as much as possible, and do art as much as possible cause he's so good at it. I told him he is as prepared as a human being can be, and he needs to be proud of how hard he has worked and relax until the test comes.

Zach said he was afraid he would forget everything.

Folks, this is a sweet, sensitive, shy child, not a rebellious sort at all. I am SO sad. I hope his dad takes him to the fair. I wish Jeb Bush could have seen what I saw and heard what I heard today.

— a Florida teacher


2004-02-19


FL


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