FCAT determines fate
Can anyone who hasn't been in a "restructuring" situation have a clue of the horror?
By Bill Archer
After reading Kathy Bushouse's March 10 article, I want to assure all the staff and students at Pompano Beach Elementary not to worry. I work at a Title I elementary school in Daytona Beach that has had seven straight years of "A" grades on the FCAT while simultaneously failing to meet the Annual Year Progress of the No Child Left Behind five years in a row. We've had sanctions, probations and now we are in the restructuring phase where an outside consultant directs us to use teaching maps in our instruction and participate in workshops to learn how to be members of a professional learning community. Twenty years ago, the PLC process was known as building a relationship with students and colleagues. It sounds like PBE already has being doing that successfully.
To see the staff and students so frantic is a shame. Don't they know that, being in a Bush state, it would be an embarrassment for a high-performing FCAT school to be closed down under the rules of NCLB? The Bush brothers wouldn't want to have to explain why some schools make an "A" grade on the FCAT but consistently fail under NCLB. They would have to explain about both education reform plans, and that's something they dare not reveal about the smoke-and-mirrors operation.
Soon the anchor of the Bush brothers' inspired pedagogy, based on the corporate business model, will be scrapped, and we can return to broadening the range of curricular options in public education. We can then again teach individual students how to achieve their special potentials. Something that the PBE staff was doing so capably before the FCAT and NCLB era intruded. Gone will be the impossible task of trying to pass the standards the NCLB requires. How do "A" schools improve on an "A" anyway? Under NCLB, they don't! So all students and staff members at PBE who are putting so much energy in George W. Bush's favorite pastime, cheerleading, lighten up! Do your best on the mystical FCAT and the unpredictable NCLB, and that will be good enough to keep your school from being "reconstituted." Your real fear should be that your school would be closed because of the district budget crunch this administration is creating for public schools.
Bill Archer is a school counselor at R. J. Longstreet Elementary School in Daytona Beach.
INDEX OF NCLB OUTRAGES