Education efforts are doing more harm than good

Published 10:22 am Thursday, July 2, 2015

My concern is about the MKAS2 testing and how it has affected my child, and her non-promotion to the fourth grade. My daughter is in a public school in Lincoln County. She has dyslexia, which is something I have seen her struggle with since starting kindergarten. So when she took the screener and failed in the second grade, I took the action from there.

I initiated seeking out someone to test her, which finally I found someone that was licensed by the state of Mississippi to administer the test in Mississippi. After testing was complete, he confirmed my fears but at least I began to understand what I needed to help by reading and educating myself about dyslexia.

She began therapy shortly after, and I have been taking her to Summit three days a week — a 40-mile round trip. I have seen the growth, from a nonreader to a child that picks up a book and reads aloud in a group setting. My child deserves more than one test that is not geared towards her disability to determine her fate.

She is an honor roll student, and she has been an inductee into Mississippi scholars program every year since kindergarten. I work with her at home so that her disability does not define her. I refuse to let her accept a C or D grade, and I know her potential.

The cutoff on the MKAS2 test is 926; her scores were 923, 896, and 917. That tells you that with her disability she is probably performing as well as some students without a disability. I want a resolution for her.

I have read over the Good Cause Exemptions — those are reasons for students that are in special education, majorly severe. I am investing in my daughter by giving her the tools that are needed to succeed such as paying for therapy, helping with homework daily and educating at home, and this is the result.

Some children are not great test takers, and normally those children who have dyslexia are not.

As legislators, what are you all giving the children to succeed? Are you giving the public schools funding for the interventions that are needed if my daughter is held back another year….an honor student. Did your provide money for extra teachers to be in the classroom? How is this supposed to happen without having a budget to fund this new test? Did you invest in our children or set them up for failure? Why aren’t you all held accountable for laws and bills without a follow-through plan? Why wouldn’t this test be used as a screener to determine where money is needed in the educational system for the following year to prepare the next fiscal-year budget?

My child will be placed in the same classroom setting, learning the same material over another year in the subjects that she excelled at in last year, stating that she is in an interventional remedial program that is set by the district based on their budget. That is going to be a computer setting for 30-minute reading passages. Oh, did I mention I take her to one-hour sessions, three times a week because her school does not have a therapist there. Nor do they accommodate my child, so her grades show that she deserves a promotion.

I want you all to rethink this test. What about children with disability; Should they be able to perform as well as others on this test? Have you all consulted with others that have licenses in these areas to see how it will affect children with different degrees of disabilities?

Have you thought about the consequences of holding a child back such as self-esteem issues and confidence? You are breeding other problems as if Mississippi does not have enough? When you have self-esteem and confidence issues, that is going to turn into teen pregnancy, alcoholism, rise in drop-out rates and drug abuse. These are issues that are already an elephant in the room, so now you are going to feed it.

I want answers for my daughter. I have told her to work hard all year and now for what? All her work is in vain.


Latasha Fields is a 

Brookhaven resident