An FCAT Morning
My oldest son wakes up early every morning, so early that we’ve had to establish a rule about him not waking the rest of us up. Usually, when we go say good morning we find him reading or building or something.
This morning, he was lying flat on his back on the floor, fully dressed and staring at the ceiling.
His allergies descended on him this weekend, and he’s seriously stuffed up, but that wasn’t the problem. Today is also the first day of FCATs.
FCATs, for those non-Floridians out there, are standardized tests designed to test the school system. The kids take a week’s worth of tests and their results are used to grade their school.
On the face of it, the idea sounds reasonable: grade the schools based on how much the students are learning. In practice, though, it’s safe to say that it’s a dismal failure. The schools know the FCAT is the key to their success, so that’s their focus. Not only do they teach to it, but they also make sure the kids know how important it is. The pressure is ridiculous. Even students like my son, who have aced every FCAT practice test they’ve ever taken, get the willies.
…and so we found him at seven in the morning, lying on his back and staring at the ceiling. We got him up, told him (again) not to worry about the FCAT, and I scrambled some eggs for his breakfast.
“My stomach hurts,” he said.
“Yeah,” I said. “That’s normal. You’ll be fine.”
“If it’s really bad,” I said, “we shouldn’t do eggs. Want some cereal instead?”
“No.” He shook his head. “It’s not that bad.”
I didn’t think so.
After eggs, we rode our bikes in. By the time we reached the school, he looked significantly less pale.