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The Dreaded FCAT is secretly causing the demise of our children. (FLA PARENTS)


WriterMom April 16, 2008

I would be in total favor of banning the FCAT FOREVER if I could find someone to give me a dotted line to sign on.

My son has repeatedly failed the reading part of this moronic test, and now has to retake it yet AGAIN in 2 months. I refer to it as "moronic" because it's only purpose is to grade an entire school based on where 10th graders are at academically.  I fail to see the purpose of it when all I have seen is how much it stresses out my son every year. TWICE he has "almost" passed it. Once, by only 1 point. When I asked him why it's so hard to take, he said that the reading test doesn't have ANYTHING TO DO WITH what's being taught or has been taught to him in an actual classroom. Even though he said he purposefully studied for the reading test the last time he took it, and "guessed" at the math part. Ironically, he passed the math section with flying colors, only to fail the reading segment, yet again. Every year, he waits with shear dread for the results.

I never did well with reading comprehension "tests" either when I was in school. In fact, I was forced to take extra credit reading classes to help boost my grade point average so I would pass. It was humiliating, and always very stressful. I went through 12 years of school being scolded by my parents because my teachers labeled me as one who "would not apply myself." It didn't seem to matter that I always aced English, or that I excelled in other classes.  The one I always failed at got me in trouble.

Again, I call the FCAT "MORONIC" because I now write for a living, and my son is the Editor-in-Chief of his school newspaper. I am 46 years old, and never went to college for journalism, but yet I am a published author and smart enough to write for Disney.

Once my son became Editor-in-Chief of his high school newspaper, he decided to put his literary power to use.  He researched other school related academic achievements of hundreds of students, and wrote about it.  He made the "D" Stigma, (his school’s been given), on the cover page as well as the center spread, noting that being labeled a "D" school due to the FCAT scores does not make one a "D" student by any means.

He was called to the principal's office upon distribution, and thought he would receive a reprimand. Instead, the principal congratulated him on his story, and the truth behind it.

Just recently, he realized that the FCAT test is in April. His face lost all color when he said he hopes that the FCATs aren't going to be the same week as the Journalism State Competition in Tampa, or else, "I'll just kill myself." I was stunned, because my son never talks this way.

He has been preparing all year for this competition, and even paid his deposit on the trip. He'll be giving up Grad Night just so he can attend this event. It absolutely horrified me to hear him talk this way. 

Whatever "genius" thought up this asinine test needs to have his head examined. It's doing our kids more HARM than GOOD.  Since its birth, the FCAT has only had negative repercussions. It makes high school students feel bad about themselves if their school is labeled anything but an “A” school. If your school falls to an “F” it risks being closed down. (Like many here in south Florida). Thus, kids who hoped to graduate with their friends are displaced throughout an entire county, and/or waiting placement.

Failing FCAT causes low self esteem amongst students and their peers that may lead to depression, anxiety, and even a sense of hopelessness. Uncertain future comes into play for college bound students since their graduation is no longer secured by class work alone. I’ve been told that the higher the overall grade for the school, the more funding they receive from the state. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?? After all, wouldn’t we as parents and teachers run to the aide of a failing student before offering assistance to an “A” student? 

What message is this sending to our kids by constantly placing negative labels on them and their school?  Do school officials honestly expect THIS to improve school spirit? Do they expect THIS to boost student morale?  My son was awarded "A Honor Roll" last semester, with a GPA of 4.0. I can remember my high school years being some of the best times of my life, and I never had a GPA of 4.0. However, my son cannot say the same. He's been told that if he does not pass the FCAT this time around, he will not graduate. This, they're saying to a kid who has over 800 service hours, whereas, only 40 are required by end of senior year.   It won't  matter that he's an "A" student. If he fails the reading again, he'll be labeled a failure. Period. 

I rest my case.

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Petrosinella February 21, 2008

Have you discussed this with your school board? Or even your legislator?


Anonymous February 21, 2008

Is there a ground swell of anger about the FCAT? Are parents going to do something about it? What's happening at your son's high school? By the way, I keep hearing similar stories coming out of Texas about the TAKS.


WriterMom February 22, 2008

Yes. Even the teachers are up in arms over this sorry excuse of a test. My son has spoken with several teachers at his school, and they all agree it causes undue stress and anxiety more than anything else for all included. And YES, we are aware of similar situations in Texas over their TAKS. I don't think that there's been any kind of public feedback within the school system until now. His ongoing frustration with this test, (along with my angst as a parent) is what prompted him to write about it in the first place. He obtained interviews from several students, as well as teachers in his article. Not one had anything good to say about it.


WriterMom February 22, 2008

It's funny that you mention this. Just yesterday, my son told me that one of his writers for the school newspaper has written and proposed a "bill" on her own, about ridding Florida schools of the FCATs altogether, and sent it to Washington. He just learned that they've received it, and that it is actually being considered.


DeborahHamilto March 26, 2008

I don't have nothing to say. This women has said it all. She has explained this very well. I am glad someone sent a letter to THE WHITE HOUSE. This is what I have been trying to say Let's get rid of the fcat because I know it is not fair to our students. I don't know why some parents don't see what's really happening with this fcat and our children.


kfrist March 26, 2008

I agree with you 100% and if you ever get that dotted line to sign pass it on to me i will sign it hands down! My daughter is in 6th grade and every year its the same thing for her a week of stress, loss of sleep, its just plain stupid that they have so much pressure on them. One of my daughters teachers even went as far as to tell her if she fails she will not go into 7th grade!! she wasnt scared enough to begin with now shes downright terrified! i told her to do her best and try not to stress, its easier to say then to do tho, why cant they just let kids be kids and not put so much pressure on them so young....


Anonymous March 27, 2008

I don't understand why our educational community feels the need to bully kids into learning in order for them to pass each grade legitimately. They've definitely taken the joy out of learning for kids who go to schools in America.


2kidss March 27, 2008

fcat is a bittersweet word here! Glad that its over and sad because I know my dyslexic dd will fail it:( Anyway Im with you about it! As far as your son have you thought about an fcat waiver?? If a kid fails fcat in senior year you can file for an fcat waiver and show just cause and it sure sounds like you have just cause!! How can they fail a kid with a 4.0?
Mine is in 6th and they talk retention all the time. I have an advocate who is working on promotion based on her reading gains! She has an IEP so hopefully all will work out! especially since 6th is NOT a mandatory retention year like 3rd. I thought about homeschool but for my dd the social issue is soooooo important. Even though school is hard I moved her back into public school this yr and she is soo happy because of her friends. And she really doesnt work well with me:(


WriterMom March 27, 2008

Thank you for the tip, I'll definitely look into it. I've never heard of an FCAT waiver. Are you sure this is for all schools? I'll definitely look into it! Thanks!!


Anonymous March 27, 2008

Dread over the FCAT AND TAKS? Florida and Texas? What a surprise, two Bush-governed sates.

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