To refuse is to protest
To the Editor:
April 1 marks the beginning of the state testing season for grades three through eight. Refuse the state tests and tell all politicians and policy makers that we won’t be fooled again!
While the Common Core state standards held promise, their implementation has been deeply flawed. The standards were never piloted. We don’t know if they will achieve their goals of increasing student performance and narrowing the achievement gap. These tests are inappropriate in length (six to eight hours of testing for children ages nine through 13) and content (some reading passages are one to two years above grade level).
A passing score is established after the tests are graded, not before, allowing NYSED to manipulate the results according to its own agenda. More than four months after the tests are given, we find out the scores but never get the tests back. The tests are useless in informing instruction. Our children are subjected to hours of testing because the state wants to use test scores to evaluate teachers and schools without any evidence that student test scores accurately measure teacher effectiveness.
The people responsible for writing these policies, standards and tests are not educators and don’t send their children to public schools. Their own children are immune to these harmful policies, while our children are subjected to them. Parents aren’t refusing the tests because they are too hard. They are refusing the tests because they are wrong, and we don’t want our schools to be test prep factories.
Since they have stopped listening to us, refusing this spring’s ELA and math exams is the most effective way to voice our discontent. Refusing the tests will not affect school funding, and has no negative impact on teacher ratings. Refusing the tests will send a strong message to our state and national leaders that we will not tolerate a hostile takeover of our neighborhood schools.