Words from a parent and her special needs student, to the Regents.
I’m WAY WAY DONE.
Dear Commissioner Elia, Chancellor Rosa, and NYS Board of Regents members,
I attended the meeting on Monday. You may remember me; I wore a T-shirt with my daughter’s picture that said “A Flawed test should not negate the rest! I earned a NYS Diploma”. I spoke to several of you during the course of the day.
I followed the meeting closely in the afternoon as you discussed the CDOS, at length, which I personally considered to be a waste of time, because even though it now can stand in for a regents exam it is still a great deal of extra work and NO DIPLOMA. Students who already work harder to compensate for learning differences, being punished some more. You can paint it as pretty as you like and it is still valueless. But I admit to being heartened by the subsequent conversation about diploma options for students with disabilities. It wasn’t what I know our students need but I saw it as a door opening a crack and thought ok, they are talking about additional work on the pathways, I can get behind that. I felt ok.
Until today. Today schools all over NYS administered the NYS common core aligned ELA regents and the Global History. By all accounts they are horrendously bad tests. Teachers are saying they were terrible. Children that got extra time sat in some cases for 6 hours for ONE test and did NOT finish! Are these tests in tenacity? In persistence? In resilience? Do our children get extra points for sticking it out without having nervous breakdowns? My daughter (whose own letter is below mine) reported that her classmate sat next to her and cried silently throughout the ELA test. She reports to feeling like crying but she is made of tougher stuff than that. She has been in public schools for 12 years with a learning disability. She has learned well, not to cry.
This is high school, not a doctorate program or a military test of a person’s nerves to see if they can withstand torture. I am sickened by what happened in our schools today. Disgusted and horrified. I cannot even articulate how anxious I am for our children. This is HIGH SCHOOL!!!!!!! Have you all lost sight of that?
I have alarmingly been told by several regents that they have NOT even seen this test that they voted is OK to be the deciding factor for a high school diploma. Here is link so you can have the pleasure, perhaps it will make you as nauseous as the hundreds of children that took it today. http://nysedregents.org/hsela/
And for your additional reading pleasure the global history and geography, which is such a bad test that it is being revised. Why hasn’t it been discontinued pending that revision? Is NYSED in the business of educating children or abusing them? http://www.nysedregents.org/GlobalHistoryGeography/
I am advising you that Caroline Buckley will be REFUSING all future Regents exams. I charge the education department responsible for the education of millions of children to develop a pathway APPROPRIATE for her “amazing” capabilities. I demand that as she is a student with an IEP she is entitled to an IGP, individual graduation plan. You have left us no options. I will not allow you to PUNISH her any further for being differently abled. And as she so succinctly points out in her letter below. I hope you’re proud of yourselves. I’m beyond disgusted.
Dear Board of Regents,
I took the ELA Regents today; it was really hard. There were words that I didn’t understand or even know. This test was so unfair to kids with learning disabilities. Some kids wanted to cry, some kids did cry, some kids wanted to tear the test up. You want kids to have futures and be able to do things they want to do, but they can’t, even if they wanted to because of this stupid test standing in their way. Kids with learning disabilities can do things that many people can’t do. They have minds filled with amazing things, they’re creative in many, many ways. They want to be things they dream of but it may not happen because they have to take a test that is really hard. Also a lot of the kids think they’re so stupid because of one test that’s in their way. Because of one test they are unable to be things that are amazing to them but not to you. I hope you’re proud of yourselves. ”