Blame lazy students for failing school
Arizona Daily Star
09.14.2007
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Tucson, Arizona | Published: http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/201122

I go to a failing school but the school isn't failing me. The No Child Left Behind Act is very discouraging. Although we are not reaching the high standards of "adequate yearly progress" that the federal government sets, many of us are making progress for ourselves.

When there are testing days, I feel really pressured to do well, and the pressure overwhelms me sometimes. If other students have the same problem I do, then maybe they should make testing days more appealing.
The Federal Title 1 program, which gives federal aid to schools that have a high rate of disadvantaged children, is trying to help close the huge gap between making adequate yearly progress and not.
Seven schools in the Sunnyside Unified district failed to make enough progress because of English-language learners who didn't pass the AIMS test.
As I sat in an adaptive learning class which is called special or exceptional education in other districts I saw how hard the teacher was working and how little the students were trying. It's not the teacher who is unqualified; it's the students disqualifying themselves.
Christina Whirley, is an adaptive ed student who I know feels very strongly on this subject. She passed the AIMS test the first time she took it. She said, "Personally, the people in adaptive education are not the reason we are a failing school; it's the students in all classes who are too lazy to do what they're told. . . . I think that it is very wrong for the 'slow kids' to be blamed for the school failing because it's not them; it's the kids that are too lazy to do anything."
I know a lot of people for whom Spanish was their first language and they aren't asking for pity. When I spoke to Paulina Alvarez, a former English as a Second Language, or ESL, student her opinion was interesting: "I don't think the AIMS should be in Spanish because there are people from other countries who don't speak English either. Coming from ESL, I don't think that's the reason for failing. I have many friends who are in ESL and they passed the AIMS the first time around."
The U.S. House bill also wants to put provisions on schools so they can test the ESL students in their native language. But why are they even in ESL classes if they are going to be tested in their native language? ESL is supposed to be teaching the new American students how to speak English, not to be learning in Spanish. Under the draft bill, these students could be tested in their native language for as long as seven years upon entering this country instead of the current three.
The draft of the House bill is also trying to end the hiring of inexperienced teachers. But is it really the teachers who are inexperienced or is it the school that they went to for their teaching degree that is inexperienced? My school is overpopulated beyond reason, but in some way we find a way to learn to the best of our abilities. We have classes of 40-plus students, but the more inexperienced teachers they hire won't make a difference.
My "failing school," Desert View, is teaching me everything I need to be taught for the real world. In my opinion, it's the lazy students who are making the school fail, not the teachers, not the administration, and definitely not the students who want to make something of themselves.
Read essays by Desert View High School students Nick Majuta and Claritza Santa Maria at azstarnet.com/opinion