Editor's note: More than 150,000 people have read a posting byLynne Rigby, a 40-year-old Seminole County mother of five children, on her website, lynnerigby.com. Rigby, a former teacher, addressed it to Gov, Rick Scott and Seminole school officials. The following is a condensed version.
I am a parent of five children in Seminole County schools, aged 4 to 16. My husband and I are deeply embedded in this community. We are both successful products of Lake Brantley High School. I graduated from the University of Georgia in 1995 and came back to Seminole to teach kindergarten; he is currently the pitching coach for the Lake Brantley varsity baseball team. We stayed here so our kids would be blessed with a similar educational experience.
This year has been completely disheartening for us. You see, I've been okay with FCAT … show what you know, I get it … some sort of accountability. That was until this year. My third-grade son, Jackson, has had mostly As, a scattering of Bs through his Bear Lake Elementary career, much like his brothers. However, he has had the Discovery Education tests added to his school year. I saw his score on DE in first grade and it was scary low, in the 20s. But his teacher said he was doing fine. Same thing in 2nd grade, though knowing that FCAT was looming, I began to panic a bit.
We read out loud together each night through the summer, talked about the books as we read, and I believed that would pay off on the first DE test of third grade because he was doing really well. I was wrong. His first DE test was similar to others, but now his teachers started panicking because their pay depends on it. He was sent to remedial LEAP and ultimately a math pullout group. All the while he has had mostly As and a few Bs.
Disconnect. That's the word that plays over in my head. How can he do all his homework on his own, never struggling with any topic and get such a low percentile on a test? Then, an epiphany. What is the validity of this test? How does it relate to our curriculum?