Reflections from an EOC Parent, Part 4

Author: Collections compiled from team of Education Specialists

 

In previous In-Sight newsletters this academic year, we have featured reflections from “EOC Parents,” or parents of current high school sophomores. These students and families have entered the new assessment system, or STAAR, as full-force as those of us working in the education profession. Last year’s freshmen, the graduating class of 2015, sit in our classrooms, speak to us in the hallways, contemplate their futures, laugh with their friends and wonder what their place is in this new system. They may or may not discuss this with family members or even have family members to discuss it with. They may or may not even be aware of the changes, implications, or consequences a certain scale score may or may not make on their class schedules, cumulative scores, or graduation. They may or may not even care – or at least give that impression.   As we ourselves navigate our way through the sea of current information, changing information and missing or delayed information as the STAAR program fully develops, we sometimes forget that these students are still young people, still teenagers.  These students still need guidance, empathy and role models that have their best interest in mind.  In our rush to “create fully functioning adults” we may inadvertently skip a step or two along the way in terms of supporting our students.

 

Our final reflection offers yet another glimpse into a thought or two shared by an “EOC Parent” and hopefully continues to provide us a moment’s pause to think about the ultimate end-user in this system of ours so that we put ourselves in their shoes, attempt to think as they would, and support them through the conclusion of their K-12 education careers so that they are truly “college and career ready,”  remembering always to keep more focus on the student than any one assessment or program, regardless of how demanding it may seem.

 

As always, identifying information has been changed or deleted but the reflection piece itself remains as intended by its author.

 

I think the largest concern I have with the new assessment program comes down to a personal level. We have had changes in tests before. We have had new things come through our schools from the school itself, the district, and the state. This is something that I think most of us are used to.  I would not say we all agree with the changes all of the time but it may be easy to sit back and say “ah – a new test…oh well”.  From what I can tell the intention behind the change is good but putting it into practice and some of the decisions associated with it are not so much.  As a parent I tend to wait and see. In the end will it matter? The bottom line is there will be some sort of change and this change has affected my daughter.  I am not in the education business and while I certainly support educators, I do admit that I must rely heavily on their expertise and knowledge in this area because it is their professional area and not mine. 

 

But my area is my daughter. I would like to think that all parents think the same way. What I am concerned about is not even so much “how this affects my daughter” (I have no control over that) as it is about the way my daughter is treated and the quality of the education she receives.  In my mind good teaching, solid learning, and respect and humanity will lead to my daughter’s success.  This is a two way street and she must do her part as well but I have seen, sadly, a real decline in what they are doing in class, how they are doing it in class, and what can only be described as misdirected efforts on the part of the school.  As I have said, we have lived through changes before…what should always be constant is treating and speaking to students with respect, providing a good solid education built on classroom trust, thinking and application and realizing that the phrase “high school student” does not have a negative connotation to it unless you impose one.  We have had such a list of reactionary decisions that really do not have anything to do with improving the quality of what happens in the school building each day. They only seem to provide another distraction…shifting the focus from where it should and could be.  I fondly think back to my high school experience and I think today’s students should as well.  Why do we want a climate where “going to school” and “learning” are the bad things and shuffling students through like some sort of warehouse is a good thing?

 

It is understandable that schools and school leadership need to consider the changes, plan for the changes, emphasize the importance of the changes and everything else that goes with it. But come on – don’t lose sight of what is important. I mean even my taxes have increased to accommodate what feels like more “prepping” for tests rather than showing any real difference in the climate, spirit, or actual learning on campus.

 

  • What is this parent really telling us? What concerns can be heard?
  • Can you identify or empathize with the parent?
  • How well do we consider those parents with additional challenges, such as language or education level barriers?
  • Can we be more purposeful in helping our communities learn and grow with us in today’s educational environment?

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