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Monday, November 24, 2014
Parents concerned with standardized testing
By: Michael Ganci
By: Michael Ganci
Dr. Joseph Rella, the superintendent of the Comsewogue School District, shares his concerns.

It’s all about the children.

That was the message conveyed at the community education forum held at the Seaford American Legion Hall on Feb. 26. A panel of speakers included Jeanette Deutermann, the founder of the Long Island Opt-Out Facebook group, Dr. Joseph Rella, the superintendent of the Comsewogue School District and Dr. Arnold Doge, the chairperson of the department of educational leadership and administration at LIU Post.

“When I was first teaching, I remember being told by the principal that your classroom is yours,” Dodge said. “You come up with some reading, writing and listening experiences for kids and we’ll trust you.”

Dodge said the ELA and math standards that are being used for state testing are outrageous to measure the success of students and teachers in grades 3-8.

“When you don’t trust a whole group of people to manage their own affairs, you’re disempowering them from doing their best for children,” Dodge added. “What’s more important than that?”

The panel stressed that kids should not be stressing about the April ELA and May math exams throughout the year, but should also be focusing on science, social studies, physical education, theatre and art, as well as other programs. Rella added he was told these tests are supposed to predict success in college.

“I couldn’t figure out how to tell a third grader ‘don’t bother showing up for the next nine years,” Rella said. “You’re not college material.”

Another major area of focus is stress leading up to the test. Deutermann said she’s received thousands of stories from concerned parents around Long Island regarding the effect of the ELA and math exams on a student’s psyche. Her own son experienced stomach pains and anxiety, which led to her decision to opt him out of these tests.

“On this page, people tell their stories. Last year, I cried on a daily basis,” Deutermann said.

Symptoms described included trouble sleeping, not eating in the mornings, begging not to go to school, crying through homework, throwing up before the test, throwing up on the test, locking themselves in school bathrooms, cried uncontrollably and losing control of their bladders.

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