Today I had the unpleasant experience of having an administrator raise his voice and swear in response to my wondering aloud if it would make sense to ask successful ELLs what had helped them be able to pass state-mandated tests.  I was told there was no time for that BS–that we have no time to mess around with so many failing students.  To me, if you don’t find out from students what helps them, you just keep shooting darts in the dark and hoping for a bull’s eye.  I was so surprised at being cut off so abruptly that I had to fight back some emotion (thank goodness I didn’t cry!) and found it hard to know my purpose in the meeting.

I also wondered why it has taken until March for him to call a meeting to address the problem.

The Reading teacher and former ESOL teacher in me says it’s not the students who are the problem. The expectation that students learning English should be asked to pass the same tests as their native English-speaking peers, when they have had only 1-5 years of English instruction, is absurd. The political issues in this part of the educational process is complicated beyond my understanding. But my heart tells me it is wrong to squash the spirit out of kids who are “learning to become bilingual” (thank you, Colleen Cruz). There has to be a better way.

6 thoughts on “March 7, 2016

  1. I sometimes feel the same way about students with special needs. We already know they are reading or computing math problems below grade level. Why give them the same test as their same age peers? Do they expect them to perform at the same level? Very frustrating indeed.

  2. I know the feeling of being completely shocked into silence…infuriating because of the offending comments but also because you can’t find the words to defend your point of view. I am glad you are looking out for the students, because I am noticing that between all the politics involved in education, many people forget that is ultimately who we are here for!!

  3. Woah! I completely feel for you. It’s like we and our students are “the problem,” yet we are not the ones who are going to solve it. The more we are legislated the worse it gets.

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