This week, Rhonda Nickerson addressed the Seminole County School Board. Her address was read for her by parent, Jodi Parham.

You, the Board and Superintendent of Seminole County Public Schools have stated numerous times that you don’t like the reliance and significance placed on standardized testing. However, at the first opportunity to demonstrate that beliefyou chosotherwise.

You could have stood with us in putting our students first, putting actions behind the districts apparently empty words.  Instead, you each chose to support the very costly move to fight the judge’s ruling. You certainly are NOT REQUIRED to do so. Please don’t say, “It’s the lawyers.” The lawyers answer to  this board.  You made your choice to send a message about where you really stand and it‘s clearly not on the side of our children. Not only did you not stand with us, you’re using our own tax dollars to fight against our children. If this doesn’t turn your stomach, I don’t understand.

This year, Seminole has added more testing.  More dependency on a test score, instead of more trust in our teachers. How can that be interpreted by parents and teachers as anything other than hypocrisy?

At the very least, this district could have acted according to the Judge’s order and promoted proficient third graders. You didn’t, and instead continue to act against our students’ best interestsYou have doomed them to an entire year spent bowing to the testing god with each and every mind-numbing repeated lesson. Violating those same statutes you pretend to serve with blind obedience, as no alternative curriculum is being used.  Another 180 days of knowing, in their little 9 year old hearts, that they are valued less than their test scores. Lessons we parents will spend a lifetime trying to undo.

You are sadly mistaken  if you believe that every child doesn’t know the importance placed on TEST scores. They feel it in their tummies with stomachs pains and heads with headaches. They show it in how they treat those around them, acting out at school or at home. Some go so far as to taunt other children about their test scores.

You could do the right thing and promote those kids stuck in 3rd grade again. Especially Gabi’s daughter and those like her. Every day that that sweet, brilliant girl sits in 3rd grade takes a chip out of her self-worth. We all know she doesn’t belong there and yet Superintendent Griffin and this Board are stubbornly stuck on a score to prove it. 

Ask yourselves:

Why is a gifted child with a near 7th grade reading level still in the 3rd grade?

Where is your proof that she belongs there? Not having a test score is not proof of a reading deficiency. The law and judge clearly stated so several times. Your willingness to damage these children each and every day is a horrible, ugly stain on this county and on EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU.

My family is just one of many harmed by this district’s practices. Throughout Sarina’s 3rd grade year, I repeatedly asked for a true portfolio to be done. I was denied, despite the law and a judge’s order. Only more testing was offered. However, a state certified teacher has certified Sarina’s portfolio as proficient for promotion to 4th grade. No test score needed. Imagine that.

Placing so much importance on these numbers is destroying public education…perhaps we should really call it what it is…

Public Testing of the many, for the Profit of a Few.

Sarina Nickerson’s Third Grade Report Card