Kids are not apples or oranges or even chickens. They aren't all the same. The tests usually are no problem for the bright to normal kids - other than the total boredom that sets in while they pre-test, post test, benchmark test and review test. The kids with a low IQ (the cut off in Texas is 70) are considered special ed, and while they too have a test to take, it's geared to their ability and educational goals. The kids with learning disabilities are allowed to test with modifications.
It's the not so bright kids, the kids on the downside of the bell curve, the ones who work hard and to the best of their potential who are slipping through the cracks. They aren't eligible for Resource / pull out programs because they haven't a learning disability and there isn't a gap between their IQ and their academic performance. They are to "smart" for special ed or life skills program. But they aren't bright enough to score the 90+% that's required for a school to gain the highly coveted superior ratings. And they know it.
They attend tutoring after school and on Saturdays, do extra homework, try their very best but sometimes they just can't get it.
I can't imagine being expected to achieve 90% mastery in something that, try though I might I just can't master. I am not gifted musically. No matter how many lessons I endure, no matter how much I practice I can't sing on key nor play an instrument with any degree of proficiency. Music classes for me were pure torture and I was grateful they were only given a couple of times a week.
That's what school is like for these children. They stumble, pick themselves up, stumble again and keep on trying. It's a testament to their character that they just don't give up.
One would think the shrub would be sympathetic to their plight. He was, as he is proud to tout only a C student, so chances are he was one of those student himself!