Location: Palm Beach County, Florida, United States

Recently have been told I look like Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island. I hadn't heard that in years, but that is a good place to start as to what I look like, although she had a better bod. I have three boys and have been married for 13 years. Born of a Navy family, in Hawaii, one Mom, one Dad, one sister and one brother. The eldest of three children. BS in Applied Mathematics. Consider Pensacola my home town although I moved every 2-3 years of my life growing up. Currently work in the aerospace industry in an engineering position while being a Mom. Of Celtic heritage and very proud of it.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Unsolicited Opinon From One Who Has Been There

According to our paper, legislatures in the State of Florida are looking to help out military kids by exempting them from things such as the FCAT for graduation if  transferring in as a senior and giving them first cut at getting into magnet and charter schools.  The FCAT is our State Standardized Test. The link to the article is HERE, but I don’t know how long it will stay up as our paper archives stuff.

Now first, as the child of a Navy pilot, I have to be appreciative of all the thought that went into this. I am not disagreeing with any of it actually.  I’m impressed with all of it. the thought, the perspective.  Finding a good school for your kids is unnerving and having first choice at a magnet or charter school is an excellent suggestion.  I do have a couple things I would like to add with regard to exemption from the state test, FCAT, for graduation completion (they can use their SAT or ACT scores instead.). Although it is a nicety, it really is no big deal.

First, military children are of the most resilient.  A little test like the FCAT is probably not going to scare or stress them.  Having an emergency in the house that only Mom can handle when both parents should be around is scary.  Mom or Dad getting shipped away is scary.  The black sedan showing up on your neighbor’s doorstep is scary. A test… not so much.  Never was to me anyway. Let’s just keep the perspective, shall we? 

Second, I never went to a school that DIDN’T have testing. Whether it was the Stanford Achievement or Iowa Testing or FCAT… they are all testing. All public schools do it. Period.  Changing the name of the test is not scary. Changing schools is scary. Changing friends is scary.  Changing homes is scary.  Let’s keep it all in perspective, shall we?

Third, most of the kids I knew that were from military families were pretty sharp kids.  We weren’t the slackers. We grew up in strict households and we had chores and did our homework.  Many of us were voracious readers since reading is a great escape from:  being forced to make friends, changing schools, having a new residence.  Some of us became excellent readers because we were living in a foreign country and you don’t watch TV if you don’t know the language.  (Although I have some excellent stories of a Chinese cartoon where the female robot shot her tits off as rockets.  To this day, I have no idea what that cartoon was about, but we never missed it!)    So I would say, in a sweeping generalization, that if you are really concerned about test scores, and they are here in Florida, the higher the average test score per school the better, than perhaps in ‘helping the military kids and making them exempt from the test if they transfer their Senior year’ you may also be concerned that these children are going to HURT your test scores and graduating senior scores and I think, my friends, you have missed your mark, if this is how you feel.  Pulling these kids out of your scores… you may be doing yourself a serious disservice. 

However, I do see where they are coming from and it is goodness. It really is.


Blogger littlejoe said...

Standardized testing is a joke anyway. They cater to the lowest common denomenator. Hell, my stoopid ass was always in the 95th percentile in everything.
I like the fact that Florida is acknowledging that military kids have enough shit going on, and don't really need more tests.
"Sorry about your Dad being shot in Iraq Jimmy, here's a test."

2:18 AM  
Blogger Harvey said...

Maybe they didn't want the military kids wrecking their curve with good scores? :-)

9:17 AM  
Blogger Boudicca said...

I do actually disagree with our State testing, but that's a whole other blog issue, that mostly relates to Floridians, so I'll not post on it. I have many issues with the FCAT.

Most of the military kids I know have pretty good well rounded educations. I honestly think it's kinda cool that someone is realizing that there is a lot of stress in being a miitary kid, my point is however, that takinga test is the least of their stresses. You just learn to take stuff like this in stride. And chances are, there is mandatory state testing no matter where they live (Florida isn't the only state is it?), so they were probably going to have to take one anyway.

And Harvey is right about messing up their scores with good scores although I know he was being a tease! If you can use your SAT or ACT scores instead, that tells me you have to have scored well on the ACT or SAT to use them as a sub and if you did well on the ACT or SAT... the frickin' FCAT is a joke. The kids who fail the FCAT are the kids who would NEVER even think about taking the ACT or SAT. Sweeping generalization, there are exceptions. Chances are if the military kid has high enough SAT or ACT scores to exempt out of the FCAT... they would only have helped the school's scores by taking it.

In another twist though, why should the school they are in get the benefit of a smart military kid's test score when they really had nothing to do with educating them anyway?

10:26 AM  
Blogger Anathematized1 said...

I was actually going to make a comment similar to your last paragraph, Boudicca. Most standardized testing is done to gauge the extent of the child's knowledge based upon a national/state average. But it's supposed to be an indicator of whether the school district's system is working to meet standards.

So, the only testing I can see them using on military students is placement testing. Otherwise, it doesn't seem fair that the smart-assed military kids are going to be lumped into the status quo and most likely bump up the score (even a miniscule amount), when, in fact they were NOT a product of the school district for ANY length of time.

I remember having to take tests at every school I went to (Air force brat here). I have horrid test anxiety, always have, but that was the LEAST of my concerns. I was more worried about missing my friends, trying to make new ones, trying to remember my new bus number, etc, etc, etc. And we were lucky, we only moved about 4-5 times in 2 years. Long story behind that. Maybe I will post it on my blog sometime..Involves the KKK and my father suing the Air Force.

1:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An interesting note is that Ft Walton Beach, home of Eglin AFB, has the highest FCAT scores in Florida. The schools in that county are flooded with AF brats.

6:34 PM  

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