The day of reckoning is near for educators in the Sunshine State. Fear is the instinctive response to the doom and uncertainty that are born inside of us the moment our students pick up their pencils or log onto their computers.
No matter how administrators and educators try to game the system, they end up getting played by the system that appears to be designed to consign public schools to a status lower than the local brothel and with much less respect from the community.
No amount of practice, preparation or previewing can ever promise success for our schools or students because the system has already been crafted to demonize, degrade and denigrate men and women who care about students but live and work with targets on their backs.
FCAT is a monster not because it was born that way. Originally intended to diagnose students' needs in the classroom, FCAT has morphed into a handmaiden for elected and appointed officials to destroy what little joy there is in the teaching profession.
Data and accountability are nice but they are used far too often by the party in power in Tallahassee because they know that opposition is toothless, impotent or in hiding. Every Election Day that comes and goes further cements the lust for power that our so-called leaders place ahead of truly serving our state and our future.
It is only inevitable that schools have become testing factories in which district and school officials are reduced to overseers who have no choice but to monitor and micromanage a chain gang busting rocks in unison for an ever-shrinking piece of hard bread and sip of tepid water.
No matter what we educators do, it will never be enough, so why bother? It is easier for suits to justify their jobs by telling us how horrible we are than it is to say that we truly are trying and need a break.
Teaching may not be as bad as being in prison, but at least the average convict gets a fair trial. FCAT, however, is our judge, jury and executioner.