Reading Sufficiency Act - Miserable Position For A Child

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." -- Albert Einstein

Now that we are in the second semester of school, third grade retention and the Reading Sufficiency Act are showing up more and more on the radar of parents and teachers.  We, the grown-ups, know that it is in the best interest of a student to be reading on grade level, but we can’t lose sight of the fact that it’s not the only thing that makes a student successful.  As in the quote above, each student has their strengths and weaknesses.  For some it’s reading, for others it’s math, or science, or the arts, or athletics or any number of things.  Most importantly, we know students shouldn’t be judged on one, high-stakes test.   We know they are more than a test score.  We even know about the exceptions to retention, like a portfolio or an alternative exam. 

But, as I said that’s what we the grown-ups know.  What about the 3rd grade students?  Think of it from a 9 year old’s point of view.  No power, no voice, only a one time chance to succeed.  No overs, no chance to make a mistake, just a label---pass or fail.  No opportunity to show what you can do or how far you’ve come, just one chance to go to 4th grade.   No believing that you have potential, no knowing you’re great at another subject, just knowing only one thing matters and that’s passing the reading test.  If you don’t pass, you must not be ‘good enough’.  It doesn’t matter what mom, or dad or the teacher says, what matters is what the test score says.  What a miserable position for a 9 year old.  

9 year olds believe you if you tell them they are a failure.  If reading has negative consequences they learn to hate reading.  If you deny them the opportunity to mature and learn at their own pace, you deny them the opportunity for a successful future.  

9 year olds deserve better and we, the grown-ups, have to step up and be their voice.  They deserve our protection; they don’t deserve to be labeled.  They deserve a chance.  Let’s be sure we step up to the plate and say a one-time test shouldn’t lead to a lifetime of believing you are stupid.


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