Wednesday, May 09, 2012

How My Child Skipped the State Tests

A homework assignment for third graders in Astoria: 
Fill in the bubbles to practice for state exams. 
The parent copied the form and wrote on it.
This from The SchoolBook at the N Y Times:
As one of the parents who decided to have their children “opt-out ” of this year’s standardized high-stakes testing, I am most struck by the lack of empowerment that parents have in the education of their own children. When we try to explain the reasons behind our protest, we are met with bland bureaucratic platitudes, and even attempts at subtle intimidation.

On the first day of the English Language Arts exams, I brought my son into his elementary school in Astoria, Queens, after the testing period was finished.

I was told that, “according to Legal,” if he entered the building at any time at all he was “required” to take the test.

Never mind that I was in contact with other opt-out parents from different districts whose principals had tried to accommodate the parents’ wishes while their official response was sorted out (the city’s chief academic officer, Shael Polakow-Suransky, told one parent at a Brooklyn meeting he did not have a “clear answer” as to the consequences of a child not taking the test).

Our principal seemed confused by my opposition to the test, wondering if I was simply against all testing.
To be clear, I’m not against my kid taking tests; he takes a lot of them.

What I am against is taking a test that is used as a partial determinant in the future careers of the adults who are responsible for teaching and administering the test. Doesn’t that fundamentally change the relationship between a teacher and the children she teaches?

Or what about the fact that if enough children score poorly, their very school might be in jeopardy? ...


Anonymous said...

Testing, testing, testing. It has become the reason our public schools exist. The preparation for it robs us of teaching time. We are doing little more than teaching to the test.

Where is FayetteABC? Where is Eric Mryup? Can anyone tell Tom Shelton enough is enough?

Anonymous said...

In the midst of testing now and it is stupid. An entire year spect in trying to teach and anticipate how well we as a school will do.AT open house last fall a new teacher wstood up and said to parents "we teach to the test".Last year our school had testing violations which included the principal and psa cheating. Nothing happened. When will downtown get it!

Anonymous said...

I sometimes wonder when people make cries for the central office to disengage from the testing process and make a stand about the misdirection which assessment is in some ways taking education.
One aquainted with the either the participants or Kentucky education history will note that the superintendents who made a stand against the state which resulted in KERA a few decades ago were threatened by state education leadership that they would be removed from their positions for filing the suit and never work in KY education again.

If the teachers who see this going on (who I believe genuinely sense the injustices and misguided approaches which are being placed upon this profession and the children we serve) are not willing to collectively make a stand, then I don't see why a handfull of school leaders should engage in a battle which has ramifications well beyond the borders of our own state.

It would seem that teachers must either relegate themselves to appeasement and acceptance of the system which has been imposed upon them or else collectively work toward changing that. Lets face it, unlike other state teacher organizations, KEA has been very limited in its activism. The last show of force was a number of years ago when teachers were being threatened with increased insurance premiums which now are quite common place. If that organization as a voice and organizational leader for teachers isn't going to truly engage in a meaningful way on the behalf of students and teachers then why should central office much less an individual teacher?

Folks we have the power in numbers and relationships to make change if we would just organize and act, instead of complaining and expecting the Lone Ranger to come riding in to save the day.