Florida has our own standardized testing system, called the FCATS (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test®). It sucks. The teachers spend most of the school year building a curriculum around the test so that students test well and their schools receiving funding.
My daughter just finished her FCATs and she started talking about the things they were going to do for the rest of the year, namely, a bunch of field trips. Don’t get me wrong, I realize that there are teachers out there who are still trying really hard to give these students a real education – standardized tests be damned. But I’m talking generally speaking, here, and we all know that those great teachers? They are the exception to the rule.
I’m lucky though, because my daughter is a pretty good student. She can carry her own weight academically without too much guidance. She isn’t a genius. She isn’t gifted. But she is one smart cookie and she does well enough in her advanced classes to keep my husband and I satisfied. She is in the 7th grade and she is already talking about which high school program she is going to apply for (she’s in a science magnet program at her local middle school now). Will it be science? FFA? Oh lord, please, anything but drama. We have enough drama in this house as it is!
We’ve already started talking about where she might want to go to college. We are already talking about the PSAT Tutoring that I want her to receive, about looking into colleges that have great science programs, about thinking about her academic future. She’s only 13, but time passes by quickly if you don’t pay attention. Just like her FCAT results in middle school make such a difference in her acceptable into magnet programs in high school, her PSATs and SATs will be a huge deciding factor into what colleges will accept her. I have already looked into PSAT Tutoring because Math is not her strongest point, and that will have a huge impact on her being accept into any science programs!
I try to encourage her to do well in school without pressuring her. I remember my school days with a mixture of happiness and disappointment; I tried so hard, I did so well but in the end, nothing came of all that hard work. I ended up not going to college and although I did manage to make a nice salary before I quit working last year, I never found myself developing a career.
I want better for my daughter. I want her to go off to college, out of state. I want her to listen to some distinguished old professor lecture, I want her to pledge a sorority, I want her to meet new people from around the country. I want her to get out of Miami and experience all that life has to offer.
Instead of worrying about how she was going to pay the bills when she is 19, I want her sole purpose in life to be enriching herself and setting herself up for success in the future.
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