A teacher in Denver heard the Denver superintendent Tom Boasberg claim that there was too much testing, and she delivered this statement to a recent meeting of the district school board:

 

 

Statement at 4/23/15 Public Comment section of the DPS Board meeting:

 

 

I am an 8th grade science teacher.

 
In February our Superintendent, Mr. Boasberg, sent an email with the subject, “Why we need fewer shorter tests.” I was absolutely dumbfounded. Later I saw video of Mr. Boasberg repeating these statements to I believe none other than the United States Senate. At that point my disbelief turned to resolve.

 

 

I have worked for DPS for more than 5 years. Students have never taken more tests and never taken longer tests than they are taking right now. These additional tests are not mandated by the state of Colorado or by the Federal Government, they are added entirely at the discretion of DPS leadership.

 
Federal Law does not require 2nd graders to take 80 minute reading and writing tests 4 times a year. District leaders choose this for them.

 

An elementary colleague asked me this morning, “please also mention the students bursting into tears.” This is over the struggle of testing for well over an hour on content they haven’t even been taught yet. Under mandated testing this (testing students over content they’ve not been taught) happens at every grade level and in every content area.

 

I also recently came upon a Denver Post article from last October in which Mr. Boasberg claims the average 4th grader spends what amounts to one day a year taking standardized tests.

 

No.

 

In our classrooms we lose weeks adding to months of time to testing. New tests this year require 2 hour blocks of time. 2 hour test blocks mean modified schedules that interfere with full weeks of instruction. In a given week some classes may see their teacher on only one day, others may have a 4 hour block in the library with their teacher to accommodate test demands.

 

In preparation for PARCC testing one of my classes lost 2 days of science instruction pretending to take a test. This “infrastructure trial” was to see if our internet would work for the real event. The irony is that we were not testing Pearson’s actual server which failed twice last week.

 

We used to lose two weeks in March to testing. Now March, April, and May are entirely defined by tests. I know special education teachers who have not worked with their students in an instructional capacity in more than 4 weeks and will not again for the foreseeable future. Those teachers spend nearly all of their time providing accommodations for testing students.

 

I myself just conducted 6 days in a row of Science CMAS testing, finishing a make-up session due to server failure this afternoon. In 3 days students will complete the second round of PARCC. The week after that is devoted to district end of year tests.

 

So if I may address parents in the audience. Parents have the power. My hope is that there will be another wave of opt outs. Put an end to this right now.