Amy Prime Moore taught second grade in Iowa. Now she teaches fifth grade. She believes too much testing hurts her students. Then a friend asked, How do you know? And she wrote this article for the Des Moines Register.

She writes:

“But then I began to get resentful of the idea that I should even need to offer this proof. Why should I have to do this? Why is it that we can’t take the word of our educators as expert? Why can’t we listen to parents who advocate for their children? Since when do we allow our federal government to dictate what should be local district decisions? We know that the policymakers have their own children in private schools that would never dream of using the harsh testing policies that they force on the children of the public schools.

“Imagine a teacher standing in front of her room full of students shouting at them. “You are stupid! You’re too slow! I don’t care if you haven’t learned this yet, you should just KNOW it by now! I don’t even care what you’re interested in learning. You’ll learn what I say you will learn! Why can’t you figure it out? All of the other kids in your grade are figuring it out! You’ll never be ready for college. You’ll never even move on to the next grade! Who cares if you told me the right answer when you didn’t get to it the way I wanted you to? I don’t care if you’re tired, just sit still and be quiet! I don’t care if you won’t need to know this later in life, just do it! The questions aren’t confusing, you are just dumb! You’re letting your whole school down! No one will help you here so just do it yourself! You are a failure!”

“Would we ask for proof that those emotionally abusive comments would be harmful to a child? It’s doubtful we would, and, hopefully, that teacher would be out of a job. But if we could hear inside the heads of our children, those are exactly the damaging words that those tests are whispering to them every time they are forced to take one.

“So the proof is in the tears of frustration falling from the eyes of kids with heads down on desks. The proof is in the Facebook posts from parents saying that their children hate school when it’s a testing day. The proof is with the kids who ask to get up and go to the restroom just to get away from the relentless questions for even a minute. The proof is with the students who no longer think creatively but simply look for the one “right” answer. The proof is in the need for local and national organizations that support parents who want to find a way to get their children out of assessments.”

She asked her friend: where is the evidence that all this testing doesn’t harm children? She’s waiting.