Thursday, August 10, 2006

Charlie Crist On the FCAT

This is absolutely freaking hysterical. Charlie Crist has been a strong supporter of the FCAT. This is what happened when The Palm Beach Post editorial board questioned him on the issue.

Crist then was asked if he knew when the FCAT is given.

"I believe it's earlier than it used to be in the past. I don't know the exact date but I know that some teachers complain that it is too early and that's why school has to start in early August," he said.

"You don't know when the FCAT is given?"

"I think it's... No, I don't," Crist said.

Crist then was asked: "You're the former education commissioner who talked about implementing Gov. Bush's education plan, which is all based around the FCAT. You don't know when the FCAT is given?"

"I don't," Crist said.

Later, Crist was asked, "What's a passing score on the FCAT?"

"I don't know," he said.

I have heard that Crist isn't a bright guy. I'm believing it more and more. You don't have to be when you have a vision.

"It says that I am a big-picture guy, that I'm a visionary, that I have a philosophy that I think is important. That I don't have to have an 80-point plan to be elected governor," Crist told the Post.

The whole not having a plan thing is real reassuring.


At October 07, 2006 4:21 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is an email sent to "the higher ups of our State"
Hello, Mr. Davis:

I am a very upset and concerned mother of 3. The following is what I've written to Senator Haridopolos a few days ago. I also sent it to Mr. Crist, the Dept'ment of ED.etc. I've even sent something to our Nation's Capitol. I am "lit" so to speak, I have 3 to worry about, and I do not want them left back because they do not deserve that. Now, I assume we as a state are bound to Federal laws and rules, correct? At least this is what I was taught. Well, what I am getting at is that this entire FCAT test(ing) is ridiculous. Teachers and administrators are afraid to say or talk up because of the threat of loosing their positions, pensions, etc...This is a democracy, right, at least the last time I checked it was. This testing and type of curriculum combines students learning with teacher's preformance and abilities, saleries, etc with administration(s) and entire school preformance all in one little test. Mind you this test is not comprehendable to even and adult. Who thought this up? The good intentions are there, however, there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration. The priority and formost to be considered is what is best for the children. If someone with ambition enough, would take on this project could actually get it straight. I am very disgusted with the entire subject! Please read the following and you'll understand, but keep in mind there is more I am sure you are not aware of, like the behavior of our students in the upper grades towards eachother and to faculty and administration, it's like a war zone. I was appauled by what I heard from students and faculty. Something needs to be done. Yet spending needs to be carefully maintained. As far as parents are concerned, well you can't tell people how to raise their kids...but from what I have heard and see there are parents that want to help and have their children succeed. I have to admit, I am loosing faith in Florida... It's not what we thought it was going to be, we thought this state was caught up with the rest of the United States. There are native Floridians who feel the same, and feel their taxes are being used for things that they do not approve, promises are made and not kept, we are being nickled and dimed to death, for everything, do you realize there is fee for everything yet our state's children are not being supported or taken care of as a priority. They come First! Where is the sense of HUMANITY! Parents sacrifice to give their children the opportunities they never had... We want to see them be happy and succeed...Not cry when they come home from school because of a Test given, first of all in February, right after their long breake, not even at the end of the school year and the teachers are so frustrated it gets put on the kids...Your idea of raising salaries is good, but be competitive with the other states, get those teachers down here too...Where are the incentives for the Kids? Where are the Morral Boosters and Praise when a child does well? I brought candy and stickers to my kid's teachers so to give a reward for following direction and doing well on classwork, etc... they looked at me funny, what's that? They do it up in New York, New Jersey, and the other states like Virginia so I am told. Why test every year, what does that prove? Put stress on the kids, I just don't get it and I wish someone would just come out with it, who's agenda is being taken care of? This state has a DOMINO EFFECT with everything, and everything is all tied in together. State is different from Education and Keep the grown up stuff out of the classrooms. Why is this issue a constant issue? Why can't someone just get right? Look, I have my responsiblities and my priority is to my kids first, but I am willing to work with you on this!
I would love to meet with you and discuss this issue or call, my husband and I want to help...

October 4, 2006

Hello Senator. May I take up some of you time with my email; I am glad to finally find someone higher up to share my concerns reguarding this testing going on in our school district, to which my husband and I pay a small percentage for through our taxes each year. Let me be informal and frank, if I may. I understand that is the "way down here", "when in Rome do as the Romans do". I will give the courtesy to you because you are owed that for all you've earned though the years, however, I do not believe that you and others have thought this system through or thoroughly. I do not believe that cause and effect and consequences have been thoroughly thought through. Nor do I believe that it's in our children's best interest to continue like this without reform of some kind. You need to get the "kinks" out.

My husband and I are from New York. We are educated. We started our children's education in New York. We have recently moved from there to Palm Bay. The weather is beautiful, the people are great and the atmosphere is like no other! However, since we've enrolled our children, who up until this August, loved school, mind you, did very well; now come home confused, crying, frustrated, high anxieties, and scared, their self esteem has dropped drasticly. They are pressured beyond what should be for a 6 year old, a 7 year old and a 9 year old. There hasn't been time for them to be children. Why, you ask? Their recess has been taken away, along with proper instruction of other courses such as: science and social studies, and the "fun" things that should come along with them. You must be saying at this point, how could that be. Well, 90 minutes of Math and 90 minutes of Reading every day without fail and the rest of the day is broken up with the rest of the subjects, maybe...or they have activities such as library, media, Outdoor P.E. and within this library time there is more reading, language arts instruction, as well as the others. Throughout their day(s) there is constant reading and all it's fundamentals and math, with little else. Nor is instruction fully accomplished due to the lack of sufficient time. "Rome was not buildt in a DAY", yet you want it. Self Esteem is down throughout, Moral is down, frustrations are high from administrators and faculty wanting to meet this system's standards. And every year it goes up, why? This is not a relaxed, healthy learning environment. To which this FCAT testing has created along with other issues that I will not get into, but am aware. On top of this we tutor 3 times per week from an outside tutor and 6 days a week from myself. This leaves us with an evening of the same as I stated above, the feeling of fear,high concerns, frustrations, anxieties, low self esteem and low moral, and with very little faith in this educational system(s). Do my children go out to play, well, I think from the schedual I just stated, what do you think. NOW, as a parent, I have always given my children extra support at home,so nothing has changed there, however not so much of it, nor am I in the habit of having to hire outside help for my children because of the "LINGO" used on/in this infamous testing and learning system, so therefore, they are being judged as not comprehending or not listening or not understanding what is being taught or not paying attention in class. May I add, theyv'e come home telling me they do not understand their teachers because the teachers are trying to get the children to understand the type of language that is being used on this test. My husband and I highly doubt that the majority of the children attending these schools, including my own are not in any way disabled from learning. School is where you learn, and that is what they are there for, not to take up space or fill a quota. This type of teaching is per their teachers and administrators to which my husband and I are in VERY close contact. Nor do they want to see the children fail, because in turn, they fail. Or perhaps loose their positions. Isn't this correct, or have you not realized the reprocussions of this system. It is now a DOMINO EFFECT that has trickled down to the children and we are all for the children correct. So this is also contray to politician belief from what is publicly stated and known throughout. Politics has no business within a classroom unless it is being taught.
This system from what I have seen and heard and am experiencing deserves an "E" for effort, however an "F" for failure to function in a manner that is best for our children throughout this state. It prohibits and disables our childrens' learning experience(s). Which in turn does not accomplish what the goal(s) that are set, or what they, themselves would like to acheive. It is contradicting to the"No Child Left Behind Act", yet this system that you approve of does leave children behind. Your retention program ;if a child scores a "1" or "2" on this test... The fact that whomever thought this up, has mixed politics within a classroom. The fact that more than half of an entire school's students attend summer school, when there should only be very few, the ones that actually and truely need it, and yet are left behind to repeat that grade. They are stigmatized and ostrisized. They stand out from the crowd. What a child does throughout the year is of no consequence. Tell me what is the sense of it all. Where do the children actually attain a higher standard of education with this system? Yet, you may say, reading and math are our major academics. I have to ask, did you learn like this, have your children attended school with this pressure all around them and on them as young as the age of 5-6? High school and college is where you worry about making the grade not elementary and middle school. Why change that concept if it wasn't "broke". These kids have the rest of their lives to learn about politics and it's fundamentals and the way life think they really don't understand what is going on around them, but they do, and they question. What should I as a parent answer? What more is a parent to do... This reminds me of two parents that can not get along and the children suffer for the mistakes of the parents...

I read your view, the intentions are there, yet mixed. It's o.k. to test kids on what they know and what theyv'e learned and retained throughout a year, but not like this and not every year, they do not want to attend in fear of failing the FCAT. You do not in no way shape or form mix administration and faculty progress with the children's learning of academics, especially through the elementary, and middle school years. It is DAMAGING our children. The readings or data as you call it are false. True data is within a classroom, between student and teacher and everyday progressions and accomplishments. " School is meant to be an encouraging factor and a tool to be used to accomplish success in their future adult life." Teachers are teaching solely of what is on the test and only that, which leaves little time for the other important subjects as I stated earlier. This in turn leads me to think our children are being cheated. This is not what we encourage nor want to pay/finance within our educational system. We do not support legislators that haven't a clue as what really goes on in the real world/within our schools. I believe as a result of this, that I may not be able to reach my children, this is very sad... maybe a mistake to have come here. I am not the only one who feels this way. I have spoken to several parents and administators and faculty and support members of the educational department who are in the "frontline/bunkers"... they ALL say openly and feel the same. The natives of Florida are disappointed in their system throughout...and it's been said to me that government officals have let them down, and also concurr with the majority,(parents and teachers, administrator,support, etc..). I myself feel that even governmental legislators, " the people making up all of the rules and the ones o.k.'ing them" somewhere have the fight and the feeling of the challenge to actually attain the goals of the "people". This I feel was a good attempt, but damaging and maybe some of it can be reversed before it gets to be too late and you turn children and parents off from public education altogether. Or perhaps worse, emotional and disfunctional problems, to which we all do not want or wish for even our worst enemy. Correct?

I believe it was two Sundays ago, and I saw Ms. Chere Yeke televised. She stated that how empressed other states were with your data and programs and such, and quickly passed over the question thrown at her reguarding the FCAT and she in turn started with the Retention program, and how encouraging it was for students at any level. Now, if all this state and it's legislators and governmental officals solely are pushing this system of learning just to attain raised eyebrows from neighboring states and officials, well...I think that I am going bring my children to you for tutoring along with every other offical up there sitting behing your big desks. All of you can take turns tutoring and teaching the skills of the FCAT so my children won't fail or be left behind. Oh, and you can answer their questions too, be honest, because my husband and I are, you can explain how the test is designed and why it's not written in english so that everyone can understand what is being asked of them including adults, and why they cannot understand their teachers when they speak, and why they don't study world history and chemistry or lab. Why they hate school and how come it's not the same. I've been told by teachers that their most challenged children are those coming into the school system and those disabled, boy what a comparison...Makes me feel real good to be a mother and for my children...all my efforts gone down the drain! Bet your proud of yourself and system(S) now! Our children are our life and world and to see them in this state of mind instead of being just a child or just children hits home, and YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING TO FIX THIS, IT IS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE IT SNOWBALLS AND GETS WORSE. The kids need help and so do the parents and teachers alike. You need to ask the parents for what they want for their children don't need to be in a classroom unannounced in order to see and hear what really is... you need to astablish a functional PTA throughout Florida State; start within local schools, then within districts, counties, etc then one for the state to act as a liasan or go between students, parents and faculty and adminstrators. Possitive reinforce and moral boosters within all groupings, etc...not this PTO business and those other "programs" you have set up that are unattainable, that does not one child good except give anxiety throughout their learning experience. You need to get possitive response from parents but more than talk, you need to create possitive learning environments for children ... the kids are happy then the parents are happy and so on...more recreation, more awards, more praising within... a child NEEDS to know when they are doing well and what they've acheived from all of their hard work. Don't make promises you can't keep. You have to take politics out of the classroom and let the teachers teach and the children actually learn. You need to get actual teachers, the best of the best from every level that teach every single day to create and fix the problems that this has caused. Create a teacher council that solely deals with the happenings in the classroom so as to create a better learning system and testing formula. Let the teachers of everyday who experience the trials and tribulations of their students put out something that is more structured, after all they are the ones that get the output from the students most of the time. They are familiar with actual occurrances and they are familiar with their students and know from daily progress from and of their students and parents, have parents partner up with teachers to create a more simplier testing system and programs, something that is comprehendable, let the kids in on it too. They can do it! Confidence, Boosters...

Summer School and Retention needs to be gone through with a fine tooth comb. If a child is actually and truely failing then there is a need, but you cannot take just one day and one test to determine if that child has learned what is required for that year. You need to make accomodations for those that are disabled and create a seperate test or curve for them, they too try to attain their goals. Legislators need to wake up and smell the coffee as far as what really is and is not. We would like to help, anything for our kids...We can't bear to see them cry and struggle for school, that is not what should be, it should be fun, exciting and a place to wake up and want to go to. A place for great learning and encouragement and, friendships, challenges and praise for doing well, yes, I believe home is for that too and some lack that, but you can't tell people how to raise their kids nor can you make them. Both parents work, they cannot afford to stay home or work part time like myself. Life goes on and the world turns...they do the best they can, and some should have never had kids to begin with but that is neither here or there, my own opinion, of course. Though, from my recent experiences, for the most part the majority really do care, and want to see their children succeed and I am sure if there were more creative ways of doing things withing the school system, you just may get more out of them. It needs to be a happy place not a fake frustrated full of anxiety political mess. I as a parent am very passionate about this issue, I will do anything not to see my children feel this way and most of all CRY over school and a test given for a multiple of reasons instead of what it should be...thrown out and started all over by qualified people as I mentioned...It's a waste of time,& money, and you're ruining futures. We all know they only get to be children for a very short period of time, why make it bad for them, they get to be adults for a lot longer...Let the kids be kids and have fond memories as it should be...get off their backs for school ratings, it's not the way to run a ship.

I hope that I've enlightened you with what really is happening. I am but one of many going through this. I truely hope this was not another mistake in trusting you to help me and us with my and our concerns. What I've stated is fact, not written down, just fact of what is actually occurring. As a former New Yorker and a present Floridian can you make me and others proud of that we are a part of a truely great family oriented state? Are you Mr. Senator Haridopolos up for the challenge to take care of your state's childrens' learning experience(s)? Please feel free to contact me, as I stated before, I and my husband want to Help the situation, so do the teachers and the administrators,(without the threat of loosing their positions), and MOST OF ALL, THE CHILDREN ! This state is growing fast and though it may be an old state it is at the beginning of a new youth revolution, we need to make it grow with the times and keep up with the rest; a melting pot of new innovative and fresh ideas that can only be beneficial to the welfare of our children...some kind of action must take place, I can't stress it more, the knowledge is there you just have to use your resources, and isn't that what Florida does, at least that is what my kids have just recently been tested on, if only they understood it fully,(what happened to learning about the Civil War, George Washington, Able Lincolin, the Louisianna Purchase); renewable and nonrenewable resources, anyway you want to use it it still means the same. You've have what you need to make this situation better right in your own backyard. All you have to do is ask.


At October 07, 2006 4:37 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say Good Luck to anyone who wants to make the change, a change for the better for the sake of our children, ect...! May the Lord be with you and guide you to make the right moves and the knowledge and wisdom to see the mistakes and fix them not just talk, but actually do, talk never did anyone any good, action is what gets the job done! All but one voice cannot do the job either, there needs to be many to support! Parents, teachers, administrators, Taxpayers alike need to come together to make this change together, you want input then you have to input! Be heard! It's our Constitutional Right! But you have to listen too! Find common ground and work towards that goal,TOGETHER! But remember "Rome wasn't built in a day", but this testing/FCAT wants it done in a day! To mix bannas with apples and pinapples is not a healthy way to run a ship! Floridians are GREAT PEOPLE! They are strong people, I have never seen such a hardworking society as this! I just know that with togetherness reform can be made, YOU GUYS should BE PROUD OF YOURSELVES, I am! Now the ball is in your court...Make your leaders and would be leaders hear you, you're paying for it!


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