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Old 12-15-2008, 08:51 AM
 
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My son went to a private school for 3 years. Private schools do not have to take the fcat. His senior year was at a public school. He only needed 2 credits to graduate for his senior year BUT needed to pass the fcat. Well, he did not pass the fcat. Missed it twice by 1 point, thus, no high school diploma.
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Why blame the messenger?

I'm sorry for your son's distress, but as a past employer in the south Florida area I was APPALLED by the illiteracy of people that came out of the schools there - both public and private.
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:34 PM
 
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My guess is that the curriculum in the private school did not match the subject matter of the FCAT. The FCAT is NOT that difficult. My problem with it was more that it determined the focus of the education of my kids to the exclusion of everything else. There are remedial classes available (in the schools) for those that don't pass the test. Don't they allow 4 tries to pass?
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:56 PM
 
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Lou>

I can tell you all about the FCAT's from personal experience as I was a victim of the South Florida public school system in the 80's and 90's. First, I'll tell you that the FCAT is a complete joke and does nothing to help students or measure success. The students do not learn anything, except how to pass the test. And the weeks of preparation involved actually took away from the time we could have spent learning English and Math skills, or history lessons. The FCAT does not help anybody, it only penalizes students with learning disabilities such as ADD.

The sole purpose of the FCAT is so that the Republicans up at the State DOE can make it appear as if they are serious about raising education standards. They want to make it appear that they are serious about education so that they can run for re-election on a pro-education platform, when they are seriously screwing up the education system badly. They've been doing this crap for years, and FL's education system is today ranked 50th in the nation.
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:00 PM
 
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Harry>

Don't you understand that the FCAT is not a remedy for illiterate students? The FCAT is not going to do anything to reduce illiteracy. All it does is weed out the kids with learning disabilities and prevent them from advancing grade levels.
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:04 PM
 
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Mattie>

You are right that the FCAT is NOT that difficult. But that's besides the point. The point is should students and teachers be wasting their time preparing for a test that does nothing to measure success or help students learn? All they learn is how to pass the test. But it is the test itself that I object to. It is a gimmick to mask the serious problems that Florida public schools have. It also takes away from the time teachers have to spend teaching other subjects. So the students get less math, less history, less english/writing lessons. The FCAT is not a cure, it is part of the problem. In addition, it penalizes kids who have learning disabilities. I know its easy for you to say "Can't they just re-take it". From what I remember, you can only retake the FCAT twice a year. Maybe it has changed since my days, but there is a limit.
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:21 PM
 
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Nolefan, I am not defending the FCAT, believe me. I think it epitomizes all that is wrong with the FL schools. And, since all the "education" Fl students receive is based on what they will be asked on the test, it stands to reason that a child coming from a private school, where the focus (hopefully) is on real learning, would be at a disadvantage when it came to passing the FCAT. My middle son, with an IEP for a learning disability, passed the FCAT easily. His only accommodation was extra time to complete it, so I stand by my statement that the test itself isn't that difficult, at least for those that have been drilled on the subject matter, day in and day out. You may be right about the 2 x's a year though, maybe I'm thinking twice as a junior and twice more as a senior. But, as it stands now, the test isn't going away, so students need to avail themselves of the extra help offered to help them pass it.
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Old 12-15-2008, 03:19 PM
 
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Mattie>

Like I said earlier, I agree that the test isn't that difficult. However, I also believe that it is extremely difficult for certain types of students to pass the test. The original poster Lou's child is a great example. I've heard other stories like that too. Just because you have a learning disability doesn't mean you should be held back a year, yet this is what's happening to students all over the state. IMO the FCAT is detrimental to certain students, yet it doesn't help anybody who actually does well on it. If there was some type of benefit to students, then it would be worth it. But there is no benefit, it only detracts from the learning process.
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Old 12-16-2008, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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The FCAT is not the "core" of the problem. Kids in New York State had to take reagents for years before the "no child left behind" act, and they were much better educated than some of the surrounding states. The "testing is the problem" complaint just doesn't wash. Florida has a number of factors that contribute to the education problem.

1. Transient kids from other countries, and specifically some of the Caribbean countries where education is not a major concern.
2. Entrenched low income families with attitudes that are a hold-over from the days of segregation.
3. Teachers unions that allow poor teachers to continue "teaching"
4. The language issues from mixing English, Spanish, Creole, Portuguese and other native languages.
5. Mismanagement of education funds.
6. Focus on sports, marching bands, and what are diversionary or trivial subjects in the adult world.
7. Poor curriculum choices.
8. The warm and even hot weather. Even in the north, student attentions noticeably flagged during warm spells.
9. Violence and gang activity and drugs.
10. Disillusionment by the students.
11. Undisciplined students and classes

There are more, but those are a start.

A couple years back, a Junior at a respected private religious school in Ft Lauderdale (W.A. if those initials ring a bell) asked me to proof a few papers prior to his submitting them. The kid was a great kid, very smart, and able to go on to an ivy league school and get good grades, but his papers at that time were written at what would have been a Freshman level at my high school in the northeast.

Yes the FCAT keeps kids focused on passing the FCAT. IMO, the only reason it does so is that the level of education is SO low that what should be an easily attainable bar seems set far too high. I have very little sympathy for parents and teachers complaining about standardized testing. It is a travesty that generations of kids have graduated from Florida schools with functional illiteracy, while the teachers unions have demanded higher wages and spent money on corrupt leadership. FCAT is merely the messenger that things are horrendously wrong. I can flat out guarantee that every kid in my sophomore high school class could have passed the senior level Florida FCAT with flying colors. I'm sorry to be the bearer of such bad tidings, but the adult world is cold and hard, and employers toss the applications of the illiterate into dead files, unless they need a grunt worker that can be abused.
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Old 12-16-2008, 04:18 PM
 
710 posts, read 1,454,505 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
A couple years back, a Junior at a respected private religious school in Ft Lauderdale (W.A. if those initials ring a bell) asked me to proof a few papers prior to his submitting them. The kid was a great kid, very smart, and able to go on to an ivy league school and get good grades, but his papers at that time were written at what would have been a Freshman level at my high school in the northeast.
Not nit-picking your main point (which I don't really disagree with) but find it difficult to believe an "Ivy League" bound kid had THAT much trouble with grammer.
Wouldn't their SAT scores have to be exceptional? Isn't that test nation wide? It doesn't test specifically for grammer, but I think anyone getting above a 1400 on their SAT could write decently.

Try the kids coming out of Ransom, Gulliver or Pinecrest. They ARE being accepted to A schools and do just fine. It isn't something "in the water," it's the schools. (And don't SoFla schools basically do much better than NoFla schools in test scores?)

We had an interesting experience in SoCal, one of the "best" states for education in one of the "best" elem schools in our district.
First of all, second grade was almost 90% worksheets. BORING.
Then the teacher announced, without shame, that in the second half of the year they would be teaching for the test more specifically b/c some kids needed the help. Egads!

That was when we decided on private (& if private, we might as well be in SoFla). We could not be happier with their school here. It was one of the best decisions we made.
Oh yeah, no FCAT!
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