stephanie jones

Georgia Parents are Searching for Clues and Answers

In Education Policy, high-stakes tests, NCLB on May 24, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Hey folks – I have literally had hundreds of Georgia parents find this site through various internet searches in the past two weeks. This is definitely the time of year when parents are panicking, often being told (for the first time) that their child is going to be retained because their test scores were too low for them to be promoted. Most haven’t been contacted all year long about academic issues (but constant contact about fundraisers, behavior problems, and returning mountains of signed paperwork giving permission for their children to be in a “trial” run of Common Core assessments or included in photographs, or agreements to “Parent Engagement” contracts is frequent if not overkill).

Here’s a comment I sent to a parent who just reached out today.

Synopsis: her 2nd grade son has performed extremely well on AR (Accelerated Reader) which is something this school apparently values, he has received 90-100% on all of his “tests” he has taken all year (reading tests, spelling tests, etc.) and has done well in math. The 2nd grade CRCT scores came back and his scores don’t reflect 2nd grade level reading and slightly below average in math. Now they want to retain him – but the school has never contacted the mother about any concerns academically. Some calls about behavior (Of course “behavior” is “reported”!!!!! Education has become about social control – not education!) And guess what? This mother is pissed. And I am too! This is happening to hundreds if not thousands of kids right now – and it is absolutely absurd. We know the tests are about money – getting more millions of dollars into the pockets of publishing companies. The tests are not about teaching and assessing what kids know.

Here’s my quick reply to her:

Hi Lisa – You are correct, passing the 2nd grade CRCT is not mandatory for being promoted to the following grade. And actually, it’s not even “mandatory” for 3rd graders to pass the CRCT in order to be promoted. Teachers and parents can always design an alternative plan to retention.

You are correct again – it is inappropriate that you have been contacted about “behavioral” issues and yet you had no idea that retention was being considered until now. This is too late in the game and teachers/principals should be communicating with parents long before there is a possible retention being discussed. I suggest you remind your son’s teacher and administrator of their professional duties to communicate about academic progress and any potential academic concerns across the year. This is not an end-of-the-year conversation!

I also recommend that you take in this “data” you have about other tests your son has taken, ask for the teacher to provide “data” such as anecdotal records, etc. that documented his growth and development across the year in reading and math, and ask for documentation about the various ways the teacher has “differentiated” instruction to meet your son’s needs when any concern emerged.

I’m glad you found the site too. I’m pissed off right along with you as are hundreds, and maybe thousands of Georgia parents are this month as they are “informed” that their child is going to be retained. What is happening is unacceptable, unethical, and not in the best interest of our kids.

cheers,
stephanie

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