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NCLB Stories: Vermont

"One of my first experiences with No Child Left Behind was standardized testing, and I’m going to use one of my students as an example. This child has some learning disabilities, not very severe, but some. This is a child who has to work really hard to do well in school—and she does. She’d come in for tutoring, or she’d ask for extra editing on her paper—in other words, she did what she needed to do. And she got very good grades.

"And then we spent three days testing. When the testing was over, she came to me and said, ‘I’m going to quit school.’ I said, ‘No, you’re not going to quit school. What are you talking about?’ She said, ‘I’m stupid. I always thought I was smart, but I think that you all have just been making it too easy here for me because you like me. I took this test, and I know I did badly on it, and I’m stupid.’

"That’s heartbreaking. I’m looking at this child who is going to be successful in her life. She’s got everything you look for in a successful adult. And she’s ready to quit school…because all her life, all her work gets boiled down to a few numbers.

Terri Vest
High School Teacher
Twinfield Unified
Montpelier, Vermont