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FROM A TEACHER WHO CARES ABOUT HER STUDENTS

“Today, I had the God-Awful job of informing my 8th graders of their STAAR results. Not all of them failed. Not all of them passed. Some passed one but not the other (Math and Reading.) But ALL of them tied their self-worth to this one, 4-hour, ridiculous test!
Those that passed screamed in delight, and couldn’t believe they were so “Lucky.” Those that failed, cried; some crumbled to the floor, and couldn’t go back to class because they felt so ashamed; all their hard work and tenacity was for naught. My heart broke.
You see, I am a special education teacher. 5 of my 16 students are on a modified curriculum, which means they are not required, nor expected to, learn the entire curriculum for their grade level. Yet they are REQUIRED to take a state mandated test that covers ALL of the curriculum, even though their IEP SPECIFICALLY outlines what they are and are NOT supposed to be taught. The other 11 struggle with learning disabilities, autism, emotional disturbance, and ADHD. Have you ever sat with a child (or an adult, for that matter), with ADHD, for FOUR HOURS, in silence, sitting still, unable to move about, with the expectation they ‘concentrate’? It is extremely hard for me, and I do not have a disability.
I tried to tell them, “This test does NOT define you! You are MORE than a once a year, 4 hour test.” But that isn’t true, is it? This one test determines their future, their graduation date (or if they even graduate at all), and the next several years of their life! Not to mention the next several weeks of intensive instruction, after school tutorials, and Saturday schools.
It DOES define them, but it shouldn’t. My students are NOT defined by a 4-hour, once a year test. They are kind, talented, athletic, and gifted in ways you cannot imagine.
My Students Are NOT a number. They are human, and they are beautiful!!”

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