Posted in Mission, Thoughts About Children

Children and Testing during a Pandemic…

Our children have been dealing with so much this past year…

And I believe, it is extremely wrong to expect them to perform their best when they take any standard test…this Pandemic year!!!

In addition to how well a teacher is doing…. teacher evaluations rely on this data…

And moreover, because of the big business of Educational Testing companies influence on education, government mandates that our children be tested…

It is unconscionable!!!

However…here in Florida…they are listening to parents, teachers, and those concerned for our children…

New order allows Florida high school seniors, 3rd graders to graduate without passing state exams…

Florida high school seniors will be able to graduate this year and 3rd graders can move on without passing the normally required state assessments, according to a new executive order signed Friday by Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.

Students everywhere have been adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic over the last year when schools closed and later reopened with virtual or in-person options.

Corcoran signed a new emergency order Friday that addresses a wide range of pandemic-related setbacks students have faced, including whether they take year-end assessments.

“Emergency Order-02 protects our seniors and empowers local school districts and schools to make the important decisions on graduation, promotion and whether to opt in to school grades and improvement ratings,” Corcoran said in a statement.

Gov. Ron DeSantis echoed those thoughts in a statement released by his office.

“Over the past year and beyond, Florida has led on prioritizing the education and wellbeing of our state’s students,” DeSantis said. “This emergency order will empower students, families and teachers with data on students’ progress and growth and provide them with the necessary tools to create the best educational experience for each individual.”

Under the order, school districts will be permitted to waive the state assessments required for graduation this spring on a case-by-case basis.

“Local school districts, in consultation with parents, are in the best position to evaluate the academic progress of each student and then make individualized decisions related to students progression and graduation in keeping with the best interest of each child,” the executive order reads….Even if they do not have an end-of-course exam….

Again, based on an individual basis, 3rd grade students will be able to move up to 4th grade without an English Language Arts assessment score or a Level 2 ELA score…

Those students will be promoted to the next grade “if the district is able to determine that a student is performing at least at Level 2 on the ELA assessment through the good cause exemption process provided in s. 1008.25, Fla. Stat., or other means reasonably calculated to provide reliable evidence of a student’s performance,” according to the executive order…

However, school districts are also required to begin remediation efforts with priority to students at risk of being retained for summer learning programs.

The executive order also addresses school districts’ concerns about school grades or ratings, which can impact funding.

Under Corcoran’s executive order, all schools will maintain their pre-pandemic grades unless a district opts in and applies to the Department of Education to have one or more 2020-2021 school grades recorded.

Schools participating in Florida’s voluntary prekindergarten education, or VPK, program will be required to have 200 hours of instruction for summer 2021 instead of the normally mandated 300, according to the order.

Florida Education Association President Andrew Spar released the following statement Friday in response to the order, saying teachers also deserve some grace:

“The new order lifts a heavy burden from our students. It’s only right that they should be exempt from dire consequences when they take standardized tests this spring. This has not been a normal school year, and a test should not cost kids the chance to graduate or be promoted. However, teachers did not get the same kind of consideration. Test scores still will be allowed to impose very real costs on them through their evaluations. The educators who have served Florida’s students throughout the pandemic also deserve to be shown some grace. They have faced unprecedented challenges this school year.”

My hope is that government put our children first…

Not big business, nor those who want to reform our schools without really addressing the needs of our children…Ask a teacher!!!

Posted in Reflections

Second Chances…

image

Many of my children come from homes without structure…Some may even come from neglect and chaos…I have always believed children are precious and innocent, hearts filled with love…

Yet, because of dire circumstance, some can exhibit instability and anger…
So much of my day is teaching my children how to operate safely, hoping to enable empowerment and inspiration….

What makes our teaching more challenging is the lack of funds in Public Education and Title I schools; our resources are fewer, however expectations are more demanding,

Now more than ever, funding is critical!!!

We must be able to teach with a smaller class size, to be able to provide more one to one help for our children from these unstructured home situations ….

And moreover, the benefit of having a well trained paraprofessional assigned to aid in those special demands of children who are in need of extra attention …

Our school does have a guidance counselor however, he or she is so tied up with RTI data and coordinating meetings….Because of this lack of funds, there is a need for more counselors who can give all those special children the benefit from a strong guidance counseling program…

However, they may fall through the cracks!…It is our hope to give each child their opportunity…to be a success…

Even as many teachers try with all their efforts, in spite of these challenges…

It is so heartbreaking that because of fewer resources and funding…We may not able to provide some of our children their chance… deserving that chance to become their best!!!