Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Since Dibels life has never been the same!

This from (NOT the Official) DIBELS Clearinghouse. DIBELS is not part of NCLB it is instead part of the Reading First grant brought to you by the same folks that gave us NCLB. (DIBELS is quite controversial, read more about that here.) DIBELS is a series of "assessments" that are prescriptive and are supposed to help teachers teach kids to read. The reality in many cases, and in this case in particular, is quite different...

My daughter first took this horrible test in September of 2005. We had been in school less than a month. When the results came back I was told my bright and talkative girl would have to repeat kindergarten because she did not score at benchmark and likely wouldn't be able to make benchmark by December. This was October!! I cannot even begin to express the HORROR I felt. School had just started and I felt that they hadn't even given my girl a chance. So, thus began the nightmare of kindergarten in public school. My daughter was a playful and confident child. (notice WAS) She began to come home and tell me how she was really smart and promised that she would learn to read. One day in November she told me that she wasn't stupid and would learn - she promised. My heart was breaking!! She had been drilled and drilled. Singled-out and made to feel dumb. I was hurt, sad and MAD as HECK!! We had been working our butts off trying to "catch-up" to the so called "benchmark" (read NORMAL) kids. We worked everyday for 45 minutes to an hour. Finally the December test came - We went from "intensive intervention" to Strategic on some portions to almost (1 point away) benchmark on others. I was estatic - we went for Ice cream!! Yay! The nightmare was over, we had done it... Right? NO! The improvement wasn't enough. We were told that it still wasn't enough and were given a letter saying we still would be held back. Any by the way we'll be taking the test again in April. So here we are awaiting the results from this last test. We probably won't make benchmark again. We don't care anymore though. Around January when the second set of results came back and there was not positive reaction about our improvement or all the hard work we had done, we decided that the public school is not for us. We will finish this year, we won't quit. But, we won't be back either. I feel like my daughter has really been left behind. I had to fight for extra help and for every inch we gain the system says we are still 2 more behind. I want to know how they think they can put every kid in a little box and label it stategic, intensive or bechmark (read NORMAL)? Don't they realize that not all kids are the same and frankly if someone had a stopwatch to me I probably would have problems too!! This test has basically ruined school for my daughter. She said that she no longer wants to go. She didn't even cry the first day of school. She said "Bye Mom. Love you!" She crys every morning now. How sad. I tell everyone I know about this test and how it is being used to label children and dictate their abilities based on some far fetched scale. I don't want anyone to ever have to go through this. I am still repairing the damaged that has been done to my daughter's confidence.

Did you catch that, "...we decided that the public school is not for us." I keep telling you that this is a big part of NCLB and Reading First. This is exacvtly what they want. They are destroying public education, the number one place local taxes go to, and replacing it with private schools so "business" can make more profits. I know when I say this it makes me sound like an extremist, but open your eyes America, this is happening right now! Speak up! Stop the destruction of public education in the USA.


bertadoll said...

Jack - what a timely post! We've just been discussing DIBELS at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Mothers_Against_WASL/ (WASL being the Washington Assessment of Student Learning).

Lisa Laser said...

I am another parent who has removed my child from public school due to dibels, NCLB, and a terrible school/teacher. We have opted to homeschool as has the family from the above story. I absolutely agree that the intentional destruction of public schools is under way. Our paramount consideration is the well being of our children. But private school is not the solution for many of us. I do not support vouchers nor do we have a private school in our area I would send my children to. But there is much more to improve with public schools than getting rid of NCLB and everything it carries along in its despicable wake. If NCLB disappeared tomorrow I still wouln't send my children to public school. There is much more to revolt against once NCLB is gone:
teachers who belittle and shame children, schools that do not have recess, children being told their artwork is "wrong," hours of sitting still and being quiet, unhealthy food, lack of exploring subjects deeply, and a generally dull and long day. So after NCLB is kicked to the curb, I hope that we all realize we are far from having healthy public schools. NCLB and dibels has made some of us realize (under extreme duress) that public schools are making our children miserable and that the best solution is to remove them from an environment that is disrespectful and harmful.
Lisa Laser

NO NCLB.org said...

Lisa, I am sorry that your local school is so bad, but I tell you from personal experience that they are not all like this. I am also sorry to hear that you have chosen the leave the public school system. Remember, we are the public in public school. Parents have more power than they know. Organised parents can do amazing things, and you could too. Get other parents that feel like ypu do. go to school board meetings. Write letters to the local paper. We can make a difference. We can defeat NCLB and the Business Roundtable privitizing machine and you can change your school too. I believe you can! JF

Lisa Laser said...

Thanks for your reply. I do know that there are good schools and good teachers out there. And I do know that we (parents) need to help make the changes happen. I can't, however, send my children to our local public school and particularly the teacher Ellis had until there are changes for the better. There may come a time where one or both my children would like to attend public school and we will support that decision. But sometimes a teacher is just too awful to allow them to have your children for such a long period. I am gald to know there are teachers like you out there. I can not imagine being a student these days with the high stakes testing and the on campus military recruiters. I want public schools to become places my children would love to go, but I won't place them there while the situation is so dire. My 6 year old son was a miserable- I can't fight to change the system while it eats my son's spirit. I'll fight for change and see how far we can go in creating schools that deserve the honor of teaching our children.