Thursday, April 10, 2008

Four Letter Word In Our House

Four letter word. Not what you think. In our house the biggest four letter word there is is TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills). This test has been the biggest thorn in my side for the past 3 years.

My oldest son, Zach has a severe form of dyslexia. He finished his 3 years of language retraining through the Scottish Rite Program offered at his school. We have seen good results but we were told he would never be a great reader due to the severity of his dyslexia but he would have adequate reading skills. I would say that that is exactly were he is at. But, let me tell you, dyslexic kids mixed with standardized test is just not a good combo. I can honestly say the only thing this series of test have done are crushed the spirit of my child.

This testing process, I feel has not only hurt my son, but that Texas students are being cheated out of a good education. School administrators are stressed about their districts results, therefore they put pressure on the teachers to get the students to pass. This results in the teachers teaching to the test and not giving our students a good, well rounded education, never mind the stress the students get put on them to perform like puppets in a puppet show. (Area physicians I know tell me stress related illnesses such as stomach aches and headaches increase in school aged children this time of year due to the pressure our young students are facing). There is something wrong with this picture.

Our children are stuck in these little TAKS learning boxes. They can't function outside the box. Now wonder why the younger generations are having such issues. They don't get taught common sense because they don't get put in everyday life studies because there is not enough time in the day. They must cram as much TAKS junk into the day that they can.

My son is a beautiful, tender hearted, sweet, compassionate, christian young man that has been made to feel like a failure due to this test. I have to continually convince him that in no way does his performance on these test going to determine the person he is going to be. His label of himself is that he is stupid and dumb. He calls himself these names at least once a week. He has stated more than once that he would trade all his athletic ability in order not to have dyslexia. I told him that God does not make mistakes. He has made Zach the way he is for a reason. So to all of you who are dealing with this same four letter word, know I am feeling your pain.

"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6