Tuesday, June 03, 2003

test scores

Dates seem to be one of the stand out features of the blog spot. June 3, 2003. And then January 11, just prior, skipping stones through life.

So, today the state told me which of my students may continue progressing through their lives and which may not. At this point I'm down to 17. Nine will go on. Eight will not. Of those eight, 3 are on grade level presently, meaning those who are not functioning within the system set up to educate them, well, they're still not functioning after the stellar year we've had in Class 603.

Teachers received their scores in a schoolwide meeting. I received mine in class after an incident. By now you know the definition of an incident. No need to describe. The lecture from the AP (this time Miss P--no more Mr. S) went a little something like this. "Some of you will go on. But there are those of you who will stay right here, choosing to throw away your education. You laugh now and you're having fun. But some day you're going to be 18, and people won't find you funny then. Then you will just be slow. You won't be going anywhere, and eventually you will become a burden to society. People will be forced to support you, and people don't like that very much."

By the end of Ms. P's very effective speech my frustration had welled up. I looked down at the paper and counted nine names. Half of the class. Half failed. All the hours, all the stupid charts I made. All those moments attempting to gain quiet so that we could just simply go through the directions, so that they could have a sliver of the concepts and make an attempt at learning them. September through June. So much of my energy to the cause of Izaiah, Jamaal, Rachel, LaShonda, Angie, Sade, Desmond, Khadim, Synard, Sheena, Destini, Shawn, Qiyana, Jonathan, Vernett, Bernard, Sayyed.

Tears started coming out. I thought of trying to stop them. But that seemed like effort that I didn't want to give. I wanted to give up. Then I just wanted to cry. So I did. I stopped and announced all the names of those who failed. My AP said I should do this publicly unless I objected. My compass was kiddywampus, so I just went ahead and read out the names.

My compass is back. I know that tomorrow is a new day and that we've got work to do, that it's fine to have an emotional let down to bad news, but that after you experience it, it's time to pick things up and get back to business. That's what I plan on telling my kids tomorrow. I plan on pairing them up -- a buddy for those who will need their portfolio work to pass them. Seems proactive and positive. But there's this other part of me that is churning because I'm angry at this whole experiment in public education for these particular children. Half pass. Half fail. It's just not okay with me. I'm seeing them slip as children. They have free will and they make their choices. But they are children with spirit and ability. They can accomplish something in the world, and they're slipping.