Becoming Prisoners in This Education War

“Because all of us might already be in the way of becoming prisoners in this education war.”

Two nights ago, at an Orlando middle school’s “FSA parents’night,” I was accompanying Spanish-speaking parents. A teacher, the principal and even a counselor did a great job explaning “the beauty of FSA” and the computer test coming up next week.

The three professionals in front of us were being exceptionally good soldiers doing a good job making sure neither those they are serving (the students) and themselves (and their families) do not get killed in this education war.

Knowing the harm that these tests, and the FSA EOC do to students, teachers, principals, everybody at a school, and even the school itself, I couldn’t help to feel for all of them, but specifically last night for the teachers and the principal.

I asked several questions to which they answered knowing (I read their body language) none of them are good for students, teachers/princpal, and the school, but like good soldiers, they were following instructions to the “t.” They were, like any other human in their situation would have done, defending their post. And defend it they did with care and professionalism and for a particular care for the children they knew were not really being served by the abusive accountability system.

When they presented the “State mandated, locally developed EOC” tests as not of the high-stake test kind, I raised my hand once again. “They are high-stake tests because the purpose of the EOC are specifically to evaluate teachers (as per a PPT slide confirmed),” I said. Their eyes told me the whole story. But they could do nothing about it. Their lives, their families’, their bread and butter are in stake here too as much as our children’s future is.

They are soldiers alright. But like the children–and parents– they are also prisoners of war following instructions they would rather not do. Their stoicism showed exactly that: “endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.”

HispanEduca’s work is directly with Spanish-speaking parents. Our focus has always been these parents who have been forgotten by many.

However, that night I realized that if we do not join the prison students and teachers are thanks to the accountability system of which Republicans and Democrats are equally to blame, we all are going to end in God knows what kind of social prison.

Because all of us might already be in the way of becoming prisoners in this education war.

11020405_10152754246547169_1249769738_n-2 Lourdes, and grandson, Ben, who is in Kindergarten in CA

Check out http://hispaneduca.org for more information on HispanEduca and the services they offer the Hispanic Community.

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