“EOGs are a legalized form of child abuse”

…so says a professor from NC A&T State University, who’s quoted in a column by the News & Record’s Jeri Rowe, published Saturday.

Rowe has followed Kate Finch this academic year, she’s a first-year language arts teacher at Ferndale Middle School, one of many highly-impacted schools in High Point and in Guilford Co. Schools. Rowe is focusing on Finch’s preps for upcoming state End-of-Grade exams.

The professor’s right.

An excerpt from the column:

Particularly now, when the dreaded EOGs have turned everyone at her school into one big stress ball.
The end-of-grade tests are our state’s way of keeping students and teachers accountable. You know, numbers, numbers, numbers.
But sit in Finch’s language arts class — even for just a day — and you wonder how effective EOGs are when you watch one of Guilford County’s best young teachers go over boring, lecture-style questions and see her students give wide-eyed looks that scream, “Oh my God!”
No wonder an education professor at N.C. A&T told me last week that she saw the EOGs as a legalized form of child abuse.
Finch’s students are stressed. And so is she. Two weeks ago, she broke down. She was in a meeting with other sixth-grade teachers, talking about test results, when her voice cracked and the tears came. The EOGs are her report card. They are Ferndale’s report card, too.
For the past five years, Ferndale students haven’t met federal test measures and have fared poorly on end-of-grade tests. If they don’t do well this year, teachers could lose their jobs — they have yet to have their contracts renewed for next year — and Ferndale could lose some control.

But wait, there’s more:

Meanwhile, teachers have a five-member intervention team from Guilford County Schools looking over their shoulders. They teach students who come from High Point’s poorest neighborhoods, saddled with personal stories that’ll make your heart ache.
Finch has heard her share: A student lived in a house with no running water for three weeks. Another student had never met her father because he’s been in prison. Other students know their siblings run with gangs.
The EOGs only turn this mountain of stress into Mount Everest.
“We’re forced to cram stuff down their throats, and it’s a chore to them, and it sucks the creativity out of teaching,” Finch said the other day outside the Ferndale cafeteria. “I tell them, ‘This is what we’re going to do.’ No games. No fun.
“I can roll with the punches, but I can see how teachers get burned out. The stuff is boring. And it’s all tiring. Just tiring.”

This isn’t right, folks.

Ms. Finch, you, the entire Ferndale family, your class, and every teacher in this state are in our thoughts and prayers this month. Ladies and Gentleman, this is what No Child Left Behind has created. It is disheartening and downright sickening.

E.C. 🙂

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2 Responses

  1. I agree with ALL here but there ARE ways to make learning fun. I have to go over vocabulary words,math concepts, etc. every night with my children. Think it’s FUN? No!! It’s not but they have to get it in their heads! Other schools can do it so I KNOW Ferndale can too! Ms. Finch needs to get creative and MAKE it fun. You can take your class outside, make games out of the questions, make silly ways to remember facts, etc. It IS possible. I do it every day. If I have to make up some absurd story to get my kids to remember a word they’ve never heard than I do it! Remember “a rat in the house might eat the ice-cream”–for how to spell “arithmetic”…

    I pray too for Ms. Finch that she doesn’t burn out but I implore her to get a new attitude. If she walks into the classroom feeling already broken, that’s all the class will see. My favorite teachers were the ones that were ANIMATED and would make learning FUN!–It’s possible even with idiotic NCLB standards.

  2. If she’s getting the support she needs from her administrators, that’s one thing. If downtown, the state, and the school board (particularly Dot and company) have already written off Ferndale, that’s different. That’s not fair to anyone involved, especially the children. But keep in mind, we have YET to see and hear of any data from these intervention “go-teams.” Where’s the data? What are they doing? Where’s the data with Mission (im)Possible?

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