Saturday, March 29, 2014

End the Misuse and Abuse: Stand Up to High Stakes Testing

If you are a parent of a child in public school, or a taxpayer who is funding public education with your tax dollars, and you are frustrated with the amount of time, money, and energy that is being funneled into standardized testing, please take five minutes to help the people who are fighting to shift the focus off of test scores and back onto teaching our kids. This is of particular importance for parents of children with learning disabilities. In my mind it is emotionally and psychologically abusive when we test a child with a diagnosed disability at their chronological level rather than their actual learning levels. Is it really necessary to spend six days of instructional time telling these kids they can't read and solve math problems at the same level as their peers when they already have legal documentation to prove it?
I, for one, can no longer sit back quietly and allow this misuse of resources and this abuse of children to go on. I get sick every year when state testing comes around. I get caught in a horrible catch 22. On one hand, I don't agree with the way testing is being used in our schools, but on the other hand test scores ARE being used to make important decisions about school placement and other educational opportunities for my students. I don't want to spend time in my classroom teaching them how to "beat the test", but I feel like I would be letting them down if I didn't do my best to prepare them for this mandated assessment. I hate the look in the kids' eyes when the focus shifts to testing. I hate the way I am forced to change my approach to teaching. I hate that I know what I am doing is wrong, but if I don't do it my students will be at a systematic disadvantage to the students they are competing against for spots in good schools and future scholarship opportunities. I hate that I am forced to take part in a system that I believe is ethically and morally wrong. In a nutshell, I HATE what state testing is doing to our schools and our kids. I have sat back and been part of the problem long enough. I can't take the angst and inner turmoil it causes me any more. I've decided to take a stand and fight back. I hope people will join me.
NPE is going OLD SCHOOL with a mail in campaign! During the month of April, we are asking our Friends & Allies to print out and mail a copy of the letter ( to the offices of our friends at the Education Opportunity Network in Washington D.C.. On May 17 – the 60th anniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education decision – we will deliver our letters to members of Congress.
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