FCAT used to target low-income students

Recently the company All Things Through Learning started its FCAT tutoring program. The program was created to help improve the FCAT scores among minority and low-income students in 16 Florida counties, including Leon County.

As a tutor in this program, it is my job to go over every piece of information about the FCAT and evaluate my students accordingly.

But as I was administering the pre-test to my second-graders, I noticed the puzzled looks on their faces.

They constantly looked up at me for help, but since it was a pre-test, I could not help them. At the end of the tutoring session, a fellow tutor and I sat down to grade the tests and noticed that all the confused students got the same question wrong.

A question in the word placement section asked, “There are two ___ in the kitchen.” The correct answer was mice, but the answer the students gave was mouses.

Another question asked, “My father parks his car in the ____.” The correct answer was garage. Two students left the answer blank and one little girl knew that no matter what she put it was going to be wrong and circled the word rainbow.

According to the State of FCAT Grading Sheet, these kids are not smart enough to pass the second grade and move on to third, but I don’t think that’s fair.

These children are at an age where their parents and home lives shape their vocabulary. If your parents don’t have a garage then you might not know what one is.

If your parents say we have “mouses” in our house instead of we have mice, you are going to assume that is the correct way to say it.

It was brought to my attention during a recent Sunday morning service that the FCAT scores mean more than what the government is telling us.

Minister Kevin Hankins, director of the youth ministry at Community of Faith Church, said Jeb Bush has decided that black male and Hispanic male fifth-grade FCAT scores are going to determine how many jails should be built by 2013.

Minister Hankins said Jeb Bush also said black and Hispanic boys who don’t pass the FCAT in the fifth grade will be held back and more inclined to participate in bad behavior in and out of the classroom.

The discipline problems will carry over to high school, causing these students to fail the SAT and turn to other means of survival. This means drugs, violence and jail. This devil’s arithmetic is how they are judging young Hispanic and black males in the state of Florida.

I do not believe the FCAT is used to measure the intelligence of students. I think it is a way to single minority and low-income students out.

Nikkia Ganey is a senior magazine student from St. Petersburg. She can be reached at nikkia1ganey@yahoo.com.