Thursday, July 13, 2006
That's Just Wrong: School
A Broward County boy never thought the fourth grade would become the school of hard knocks. But when he was held back because his teacher may have made a mistake, he told us That's Just Wrong.
WSVN--"B in social studies. You did good great."
Tom Caravello is really proud of his son James.
Tom Caravello: "Last year in third grade, he had some problems. He was struggling for a while."
But this year, James promised to improve his performance.
James Caravello: "My dad told me you have to do harder work or they're keeping you in 3rd grade. I didn't want to get held back while all my other friends went up to 4th."
So when the school agreed to let him go the 4th grade, it was on one condition.
Tom Caravello: "He would go into the fourth grade and he would be there for about six weeks. And in that time frame they would determine whether he would stay in the fourth grade or he would go back to the third."
A whole school year later, James and his family thought he learned a lesson in discipline and effort.
He always worked hard. Even asked his sister Nicole for help on his homework.
Nicole Caravello: "You have to multiply."
Not only did James get an "A" for effort from his parents.
He got mostly B's on his report card.
He was even on the honor roll.
So you can imagine his father was stunned when he found out James would be repeating fourth grade.
Tom Caravello: "It said the next grade he was going into was the fourth. Which is wrong, because the next grade he should be going into was the 5th."
The reason - according to the principal at James' school, he was given the 3rd grade FCAT instead of the 4th grade FCAT.
But it wasn't an oversight.
James says he questioned the teacher before taking the test.
James Caravello: "It was orange and it said grade 3 on it. What did you do? I told my teacher. What did she say? She said to just do your FCAT."
Now, James and his family are studying their options.
They want to know what happens when they call to say That's Just Wrong.
Tom Caravello: "They're sending a message that if you try hard, you will not be rewarded."
According to the school superintendant, James was in a special 3rd/4th grade class.
Tom Caravello: "He's taken fourth grade tests, you know math reading. You know in the class room. He's done all 4th grade science. Passed them, mastered them. That's great. But you gave him a 3rd grade FCAT. That makes no sense."
When we called the school board, we were told it will not discuss individual students.
Instead, it sent this email about how third grade students are required to show a proficiency in reading through the fcat tests.
Never did the email answer our questions and never did it answer why James was given a 3rd grade FCAT.
Tom Caravello: "James is a good boy and he works hard. He is now on level in reading and in math."
In fact, for James and his family, the greatest irony is that while he is being held back, his brother is advancing despite almost flunking the sixth grade.
Tom Caravello: "We have six "f's" on this report card and promoted. On this report card, we have almost straight b's and great academic achievement and yet he was held back."
Now with a month until fall semester, James has been told he cannot retake the FCAT.
With no other choice, his parents have decided to enroll him in private school rather than go back to 4th grade.
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