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Lana D Apr 2018
School was a pleasing dream
a world of wonder
in which I yearned
to get through the door
to the desk
to my graphite, with its #2
That scent of worn paper
and paste upon the wood
my place of reprieve
full of my passions like a
kid in a toy shop
a poor boy in a rich man's world
that was when school was
a neverending treasure trove
with golden coin upon coin
but then was suddenly halted by a hard brick wall
the word testing carved against the stones

3rd grade hit
and then my mind
began to bite their words
turning them to solid stone
as time passed on my thoughts degraded
till all was gray
and uniform
like a blonde child in a **** school
mind wiped and reprogrammed
forced to stay in line
scolded to sit still
throwing culture out the window
till only the standardized colors of a flag remained

Now I’m just a bibliophile
sitting atop a pile
with books and texts throughout the ages
heaped under my feet
but I can not make out their stories
For their pages are blackened
and their words blurred
like a rushing river of soiled ink
caused by cluttered shelves
in the library of my mind
that has been burned by torches
held by men and women in suits and ties
holding badges of authority
like my mind is a criminal
being investigated by the FBI

They tell me I should know
that it’s easy
1, 2, 3 go
but I can’t
they locked my door
once they began to teach their TEKS
my colors hid and got locked beneath
and now my mindsets stuck
with no hope for release
What was a rainbow
with it’s *** of golden words
Now resides a rusting locker
with chipping paint and faded words

The creative concepts once in my head
have been broken by just five letters
that changed my words to dull markings
and erased the color from my thoughts
like the page in a coloring book quickly erased
so the sky would be blue instead of magenta
because the sky can never be anything else but blue

Five letters that I thought defined who I was
that I was always worried to fail
A big red F peeking over my shoulder
Five letters that could destroy
thinking that they controlled my fate
three old ladies threatening with their scissors and thread
to cut a cord made of multiple choice answers
Five letters that could mean success
or doom

like a hazy brained plan to stop a war
that could only continue to grow worse as
each soldier fell while running through the minefield of society

But those five letters are just a tool
To add an extra grade
and a little more rules
Stamping labels upon our IQ
Taking away our peace and serenity
Angling our goals away from our own
Adding stress upon tentative minds
Redirecting our thoughts from right to left
so suddenly trees are plastic and
the alphabet only has letters A-H
and all we know are large cement buildings
instead of fields of flowers
My whole world in a pint sized room
with flowing waterfalls that burst from my imagination
obscured by bland walls and heavy doors
Colorful assemblies with
shushing giants making up a chorus
irony written on every poster of every wall
learn and you’ll pass
go to sleep and you’ll pass
eat healthy and you’ll pass
no need for imagination
no need for outside experience
just sit in that chair
and take that quiz
that test
that exam
that benchmark
We’ll have fun later in the year,
but that better not be your essay topic
and that story better not be fiction
And all the while I scream

I want color
I want the sky to be magenta
I want to use every word and phrase available to me
I want to soar as crane flying across a lake
I want to run like a track star to the the finish
Throw down the pencils
the printed paper
throw away the charts and empty messages on the walls
I want to run down the halls
and dance instead of sit
I want to sing instead of speak
I want to learn instead of being taught

But all I can do is sit
All I can do is write
All I can do is conform
So I won’t be thrown in the trash
like a piece of worthless junk
that still has a purpose
So i won’t be stuck in the same room for more than eighteen years
like a prison sentence for not knowing the laws of this country
So i won’t be left behind
like the homeless in the streets

School was a joy
Education was a treasure
But now is defiled
by one
packet of paper
İlayda Korkmaz Feb 2018
As I was climbing the steps,
Today after school…
I felt a pang of claustrophobia,
Despite being outdoors…
As I watched the herd of students in uniform,
Both in clothing and in conversation…
I felt scared.

Because I was a part of that herd.
One which mindlessly spent its days,
In accordance to the routines of the society,
Their personalities among other things.

All those kids,
In preparation for standardized tests,
Had become standardized as well…

They were forced to fit a mold,
For so long, that they didn’t have to be forced anymore,
And it had all happened so quickly, just like the way mold covers food,
And it had come to seem so permanent, just like patina covering brass,
Hiding the quirks and the character of the statue for all eyes to see, through corrupting it.
They had turned fit to false ideals.

The stair was full of black coats,
As if to make the uniforms even more uniform.

And even the rare spring-like winter day,
Hadn’t made me want to break the routine that day,
To run away into a field
(If I could find a field in the concrete jungle,
The one that I hadn’t yearned to desert just yet,
Though I should’ve made any place my field, anyways.)
And to dance & lie among wild flowers,
Each one unique and not uniform at all.
Even the trees around the stairs looked one and the same,
But how could the system curb even,
The one thing supposed to be unrestrainable,
The uncurbably roaring nature,
To bend it in its will against diversity.
Just like it had done to us…

But then I saw kids playing in the soccer field,
Not a field of flowers, but a field nevertheless
They did seem to be thinking differently,
Their laughs didn’t resemble each other’s
So it was growing up which had made us like that,
A premature maturity,
Which would be premature even at the age of eighty,
(If it could even be considered maturity)
Which had stripped away our individuality,
And had made us a homogeneous flood, sweeping away all identity

And I still am a captive of the desperation that had taken a hold of me in that brief glance,
I still don’t know what to do,
Humanity, help me,
Aid me in melting these cages,
Through the heat of the stars presents in your minds as well as your hearts,
To recover individuality.

For I refuse to give up,
And to loose myself in the flood
So in my school, in order to reach the school buses you have to climb a bunch of steps which border a line of trees, and it's a pretty crowded school so when I saw all the identical people  ahead of me it seemed like too much and I was genuinely scared
Emily Tyler May 2013
When we were little
They used to call them

I think they were trying not to scare us with
The words

Standardized testing.

Those things that you need Number Two pencils for.

Those things that they prepare you for
Every year
For months.

Those things that if a cell phone goes off
The entire class comes back
During the summer
And retakes it.

Those things that they give you hours and hours
To take,
Out of our normal schedule,
Even though they only take
Forty-five minutes

Those things that don't even count
Towards our grades
"They're really assessing the teachers--
But it's important to do your best."

Those things that people stress over.

Even though your answers
Are only
Tiny gray dots
On a
Scantron sheet.

— The End —