Block classes are long classes for kids that scored a “1” (the lowest score) in reading/language arts on the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test).
There are various reasons for a kid to have a low score on the FCAT. One example is not being able to read or reading very poorly below grade level. Having a learning disability such as dyslexia is another. Not being able to understand subjective questions is a big one. Being lazy and not wanting to be bothered with reading the questions, well, we have that, too. We have students with terrible family problems in there because with what is going on in their lives, the FCAT is a trivial concern. They’re worried about next week, not far into the future. We have off-the-wall ADHD kids that are constantly moving, drumming, jumping, and doing everything except sitting down and doing any kind of study. We have kids with emotional problems. We have kids that move from school to school as the rent comes due. We have special education kids that are supposed to pass the same tests as the other children because if we teach them hard enough, they’ll become normal.
In other words, there are 25 kids with 25 different reasons for scoring a one on the FCAT, and they are all supposed to have individualized education. Unfortunately, there is only one teacher, with one curriculum. And the kids are behavioral problems, too.
It is frustrating. Depressing, too, to know that there is no way in hell those children are going to be able to move out of the block class since their individual issues are not going to go away. The ESE kids will not magically have a normal IQ and the direct instruction reading curriculum, which would be quite effective with this population, well, we aren’t using. The kids that have family problems (and are in and out of foster care) will continue to have family problems. The kids that can ace any tests with objective answers but do not understand things like subjective answers. I don’t understand why the test makers choose some of the responses they do myself.
FCAT is in April. We have two months to bring these kids up to a 6th grade reading level. Some read at first or second grade level. All read below grade level.