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WCVB: There’s no dispute that Samuel Andrews’ answers on the eighth-grade grade science MCAS test were inappropriate.
“It was something to the effect of, ‘Make America Great Again’ and ‘Hillary Clinton should be in jail’ or something like that, basically a non-response,” his father Philip said.
But for some reason, the school read his answers before shipping them off, a violation of test protocol. No one expected what happened next.
“We headed down the trail and we got down towards the edge of the bogs and we saw him hanging from a tree on the edge of the bogs,” Andrews said. “I knew he was gone. He was cold. His lips were blue.”
Today, Andrews is consumed by what-ifs, as he points fingers at Hanson Middle School. The investigation into the 14-year-old’s suicide revealed more details, with one friend telling police Samuel said he was called an “embarrassment” by the school because of his answers and was then worried about getting into the high school of his choice. The father is outraged, that the school allegedly violated MCAS rules.
“No one is to read, review or change answers,” he said.
“Do you think this is what pushed him over the edge?” 5 Investigates’ Mike Beaudet asked him.
“I do,” he answered.
“That’s a violation of the test protocol,” said Monty Neill, executive director of the National Center for Fair & Open Testing.
In Hanson, the end result was tragic, though it’s part of an ongoing education department investigation. The superintendent of the Whitman-Hanson Regional School District declined to comment other than to say the school remains deeply saddened by Samuel’s death. The state’s Wulfson added, “I can tell you we were certainly heartsick to hear about that. Nobody wants to have a family to have to go through that.”
Samuel’s father blames the school.
“Had they done their job, this never would have happened,” he said.
Obviously this is a tragic situation and my heart breaks for the Dad. Couldn’t even imagine what that’s like to go through something this awful. But blaming this on the teachers is such a copout and patently unfair. If you want someone to blame for the pressure of high stakes testing, then blame asshole politicians who put so much value in high stakes testing. This man’s son obviously treated the MCAS test as a joke. But the teachers don’t have that luxury. Thanks to ridiculous laws created by people who have never spent a day in an actual public school, teachers and schools are now assessed on the test scores of their students.
So if this kid’s teacher spent the entire year getting this kid ready for the test (because her job is on the line and forces her to use this method that she fundamentally disagrees with), and then the kid treated it like a joke and bombed it, then I can understand why she’d be pissed off. Doesn’t matter for him. He gets to go onto the next grade no matter what. I totally get why a middle school kid would treat MCAS like a joke. It is a joke. But the teacher does not have that luxury.
Ya know why these tests exist? Because assholes are obsessed with charts. They love it. They love to look at data and throw schools into one of four categories so they can justify their own existence. I’m not even exaggerating. The state employs thousands of people to administer, oversee, and correct these tests. Then they employ more people to analyze the data, make charts, and then assess schools based on those charts. And all because morons like this can vote:
No idiot, the MCAS is not supposed to test the teacher’s ability to teach. But it’s because ding-dongs like you believe this fallacy that teachers have all this stress on them. Then the students feel that stress and the next thing you know everyone hates going to school. People like Maria Larsen are the real reason this terrible tragedy happened.
Look, standardized testing is a waste of time. It costs the state millions of dollars that could be spent in the classroom. It creates jobs for people with no skills who like to wear suits and feel important. Truly terrible human beings with no sense of humor and no personality who live to create stupid questions that assess nothing. We never had to take MCAS and guess what? We all survived. We got into colleges and had normal high school experiences. Just get rid of it and go back to the good ol’ days where teachers taught to the kids in front of them instead of the tests that some asshole in Boston making six figures made for them.
The bottom line is people don’t commit suicide because the teacher said something “mean” to them. Anyone who possesses the ability to voluntarily taking their own life is suffering from deep rooted psychological issues. I get the father’s pain, but to blame this all on a teacher dishonors his son’s life. Blame politicians who think that it’s even remotely logical to
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