Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Our children are more than test scores, part 2

On the front page of today's Times is one of those iconic stories that epitomizes the system under Bloomberg and Klein: Francisco Hernandez Jr., a 13-year-old Brooklyn boy with Asperger’s wandered alone in the New York subway system for days, after he had been scolded at school for not concentrating.

Despite desperate searches by his parents , it took eleven days before the police tracked him down, dirty and exhausted, on the D train at Coney Island. What does this sad story have to do with the policies of this administration?

“Though doctors had recommended that Francisco be placed in a small school for children with learning disorders, she said, officials at his school told [his mother] he was testing fine and did not need to be transferred."

Like Kelly Sinisgalli, the 4th grade girl who was barred this fall by her principal from taking dance class and consigned to more test prep because she had only scored a “low 3” on her state exams– meaning at grade level –this sort of lunacy is the consequence of the rigid accountability system that Bloomberg and Klein have imposed, and that the Billionaire's boys club of Gates and Broad, and the Obama administration is trying to impose on the nation.

Following massive publicity, and after she had aced some practice tests, Kelly’s principal finally relented and allowed her to return to dance class, yet the essential situation remains the same.

Whether it’s a 4th grade public school student from Queens who is thought to be scoring poorly, or a thirteen year old boy with Asperger’s from Brooklyn who is thought to be scoring well, their fate is increasingly determined by their test scores, because test scores are all that matters to those running the system.

Check out this moving video from a NYC teacher about what's happening in our schools, Our kids are more than test scores.

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