I received the following comment from a parent. There are all too few opportunities for parent voices to be heard.
One such space is the website http://www.parentvoicesny.org
I am glad to provide the opportunity for this parent to express frustration at the way that standardized testing and data-driven instruction have overtaken teaching and learning.
“As both a parent and an educator, I am keenly attuned to the issue of standardized testing and am absolutely appalled at how it seems to have become the epicenter of instructional decision making. Last week, I learned that a Pearson field test for ELA would be given in my son’s third grade classroom so I contacted the principal to inquire about the protocol for boycotting this test. I was advised to keep my son home from school as the directive from the state was that if the child was present, it was required that he be given the test. The principal advised me that the test would be given first thing in the morning on Wednesday, June 6 and that I could safely assume that it would be done by 10:30 AM at which time I could bring him to school. As per these suggestions, I kept my son home from school during which time he practiced the piano and read Harry Potter for 45 minutes. As fate would have it, when I dropped my son off at school at 10:30, his child’s teacher was “running a bit behind” and was still administering the test. Despite my wishes and actions to prevent him from taking the test, he was given the test anyway. When I learned of this occurrence, I contacted the principal who apologized profusely. I asked what recourse I had with regard to having his test pulled and destroyed. In addition to the principal, I have spoken to the assistant superintendent and a woman who works in New York State’s assessment office in Albany. They have all told me that I have no recourse. According to them, this field testing is in the best interest of my child and they were just doing what they were told to do. So in spite of my boycott, my wishes, and their gross error, they are sorry, but there is nothing they can do. His results will be sent to Pearson. This is in the best interest of my child? From where I stand, my child’s interests would be best served by giving him time to read books of his choice and time to practice writing thoughtfully and persuasively. It would be in his best interest to conduct experiments and collaborate with peers to solve problems and grow new ideas. This field test, the state test, and the test-driven curriculums that follow don’t support any of these things. And as far as I can see, the only one who “benefits” from this is Pearson. As a parent, I feel violated. And angry. I don’t understand how Pearson has the right to impose upon my child’s education like this without my consent. I am confused and disappointed in my school district who dared to suggest that this is what is right and best for my child. It makes me realize how defeated educators feel and how they have succumbed to the pressures of our data driven culture. We have forgotten what really matters—children and learning. Educators appear beleaguered and beaten by this battle which means just what you have said, Diane. It is time to awaken the sleeping giant. Children are the heart of our schools and the best voice for children are the ones who love them most: their parents. I hope this is only the beginning of the rally cry.”
When you read this comment, reflect that the same politicians and policymakers like to prattle on about “choice,” but are not willing to permit any choice when it comes to the imposition of standardized tests on children. They like to blather about differentiated instruction, but insist that children all be judged by the exact same test.
We live in a low, dishonest decade.
P.S. Any parent interest in learning how to remove their child from state testing should look at this website: www.unitedoptout.com