Dear Middle School,
You’re a Title One school in Eastern NC and your students are some of the neediest in our state. My four children go to Title 1 schools too, though we haven’t crossed the divide into middle school yet. Your school is located in the town where I grew up and, well, it hit too close to home.
Today, you piled one hundred children into two buses and headed to King’s Dominion for the day, all expenses paid. The requirement for admission? Kids scored between a 3 and 5 on the EOGs (end of grade tests.) The children who made 2’s and under were left behind, one hundred and eighty children stayed at school who were largely well behaved, conscientious and sweet, according to a teacher. The words from another teacher were also shared with me, “Why didn’t you get a better score? Why didn’t you improve?” Heartbreaking.
The Family Education Right to Privacy Act, passed in 1975, ensures that schools maintain a child and their family’s confidentiality. According to the NC Test Coordinator Handbook, issued by DPI, schools are instructed: In no way may schools publicly acknowledge student results from testing including parties, trophies, special recognition etc. In summary, awards may not be based on test scores.
I made some calls. Did some due diligence. Talked to some higher ups. I encourage you, parents and families, to ask questions. Do your homework. Get involved. Speak up. DPI told me that they are not “a policing agency,” so I called the principal, a lovely man who became even lovelier once I told him my story and told him that I had heard his. I liked him a lot truthfully and think he cares, but like many administrators, he is under tremendous pressure to perform and so, he did what he thought best. He has assured me that things will be different next year. I hope so.
You are not intending to hurt our children, so where is the pressure originating?
Adrian H. Wood, PhD
Four children, ages 11, 9, 7, and 3; the youngest with extra special needs
Mother/ Educator/ Writer/ Advocate