Do They Really Care?

 

Test, Test, Test!

Countries, states, districts, schools.

Are numbers and rankings all they care about?

Do they care about the three kids who were taken

into DHS custody because their parents are on drugs?

Do they care about the child who is constantly

molested by her mom’s boyfriend?

Do they care about the teenager who spent the

night on the streets because he ran away from home?

Do they care about the child who lost her father to cancer?

Do they care about the child who didn’t eat dinner last night?

Do they care about the child who is harassed everyday

about his sexuality?

Do they care about the child who has thoughts

of ending her life?

Do they care about the child who shares

one bed with five other siblings?

Do they care about the child who

can barely read and struggles every day?

Do they care about the child who stays home

alone most nights?

Do they care about the child who woke

up at 3am to take care of her sister?

Do they care about the child being bullied?

Suffering, hunger, alienation, anger, depression,

frustration, fear, exhaustion, neglect, rage, stress, sadness.

These are our children.

They are more than numbers on a page.

If we don’t care, who will?

By: Jennifer Goodlow

 

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2 thoughts on “Do They Really Care?

  1. Homelessness in Education: Care to Know

    Students that filter in and out of our public schools everyday are asked to care about a wide range of information. For some students it is easy to listen, pay attention and soak in the wonderful history lesson, or even the boring history lesson, presented to them that day. Then there are other students who seem disinterested and bothered by the teacher’s constant reminders of how important these facts will be come testing season. When comparing the two students you might notice that they have a lot in common or nothing in common at all. How can educator’s ensure that these students perform best on the test? Or maybe that isn’t the question we should be asking at all.
    The question should be what does this student need to be a successful participant in their life, in our society. Should every student be asked to do the same things or take the same tests? Do we all need the same prescription in our education? The answer is no. We are all are different with our needs being varied greatly. The first student may not need anything but the engaging lesson while the second student needs a place to call home.
    CNN Money reported that 1.3 million students that are enrolled in our public education system were homeless. Homeless is defined as living in streets, shelters, motel or doubling up in houses of other families. These children are concerned where they will rest their head tonight. It is time to show them that our society cares more about them than test scores. We care about their future!
    We cannot expect children to care about an education that is a means to somebody’s success.
    “This information will really be helpful in April,” says the teacher who wants the best test scores in the school.
    The message that is being sent to students is your immediate problem will not be solved with what I am teaching you but my problem will. We need to begin teaching information in such a way that it shows them a light in their life. Students need to see education as a means to their success! According to the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, many students feel like school is a home to them. Let us make them feel at home by helping them with their needs and not asking them to perform higher on a meaningless test.
    My note to teachers, administrators, legislators and parents is lets let students know we care about their struggles so they care to know what we have to offer. One way to help is to get involved with an organization like National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, NAEHCY. This organization acts as a voice for the education of homeless children and youth. You can sign up as a member or just donate at their website: http://www.naehcy.org/about-naehcy/welcome

    Source: http://money.cnn.com/2014/09/22/pf/student-homelessness/
    (I wasn’t sure if I needed to APA formatting or not)

  2. Testing Through My Eyes

    I have spent several years in schools that are heavily populated with low-socioeconomic status (SES) students. Socioeconomic status refers to and is measured by the level of education, income, and occupation of parents. Some of the low SES students have extreme circumstances stemmed from their home environment that limits their quality of life and education. These circumstances can be a number of things, for instance: low-literacy, chronic stress, homelessness, many different forms of abuse, lack of resources, and the list could go on. I have witnessed students coming to school hungry because they had not previously eaten dinner the night before, nor did they have breakfast. I have had students tell me that they did not sleep well because they share a bed with many siblings. On more than one occasion, I have had students come to school in dirty clothes due to lack of money to wash clothes at the laundromat or because their water was cut off.
    These students are expected to come to school, leaving their home lives and issues behind, to focus and learn. However, it is not that simple. According to the American Psychological Association (2014), “low SES households and communities develop academic skills more slowly compared to children from higher SES groups.” They have so many obstacles that they face on an everyday basis that sometimes takes president to their academic achievement. This, along with a number of other things, causes low SES students to develop language and vocabulary skills slower, have delays in their letter recognition and phonological awareness, and are in risk for reading difficulties (American Psychological Association, 2014).
    Throwing tests and more tests at them is not to answer to increasing their achievement. For some kids who are trying to get by or survive each day, these tests are not the most relevant thing in their lives. I’m not saying to do away with testing. Testing is needed in order to see if the students are growing and retaining the information taught. However, testing for just a score and not for the student’s progress is the default in our schooling system. Basing the students’ test score on a scale against other students who aren’t faced with the same home-life situations is unfair. Giving students’ one test at the end of the year that decides their fate in promotion to the next grade is unfair. I feel like this only brings more disappointment to these students.
    Learning takes time, especially, for low SES students who are faced with so many adversities. They are not able to show extreme improvement at a rapid speed. They need to learn at their own pace. The drill and kill method is exactly what is sounds like; it is not efficient by any means. These students need to have a learning experience that not only helps them see the relevance in their future, but they need to see the relevance for right now. Lessons and learning should be geared to their needs and culturally diverse. ALL TESTS should show where they started and how far they have advance. Measuring their progress is how testing should be done instead of a base score that is impossible to reach.
    I just wish that school systems, districts, and state lawmakers will soon wake up and see that they are tearing down our students rather than building them up. I know there are many teachers and parents that feel the same as I do with the way testing is handled. It’s time that we take a stand to change policies and laws. It’s time to truly educate our students because they are real people, not numbers!

    source: American Psychological Association (2014). http://www.apa.org/pi/ses/resources/publications/factsheet-education.aspx

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