I'll begin this blog by saying that this piece is just my opinion. I'm speaking of today's students, my own included. We have slowly but surely become a society that is obsessed with and driven by data collection, test scores, teaching to the test, being told that our students are not good enough. We hear that our kids don't do well enough. They are not globally competitive enough. They are not college and career ready. Really? I beg to differ. We continuously hear what's wrong with our schools and our education system and why it has to be "fixed". Our government, state and federal, want to be the saving grace for what they claim are our problems. I am growing more and more concerned with what is happening to local control. And I'm offended by these assumptions because the Clarkstown
Central School District district in particular has an award winning history.
On another note, I'm not against all tests. Testing is a reality. When the right tests are administered for the right reasons, and results are shared with the intention of helping teachers and students, then bravo. This is not the case with the NYS standardized tests. Our kids are already over tested. Putting students through a grueling six day cycle of testing is over the top. There is evident teaching to the test in many classrooms. Endless packets of homework labeled "test prep." Endless lessons to "prepare for the tests."
Really, think about it. Out kids are losing out on countless hours of creative, exciting, innovative classroom learning opportunities because of standardized tests. And the teachers and students will get nothing useful in return. When your child brings home an 18 page Math "Test Prep"--that's how it was labeled--and an ELA packet with several stories and about 42 questions, you can imagine the frustration. There's nothing wrong with practice and reinforcing lessons learned in school through homework. But I do take issue with the skill and drill style...Students are getting pressure from the school not me....too much is centered around teaching to the test. As quoted by Diane Ravitch "If the children don't take the tests, the state can't rank and rate them; their teachers won't be evaluated based on their test scores; their principals won't be evaluated based on their test scores; their schools won't be rewarded or closed based on their test scores."
Wake up New York. We are pushing back more than ever. This is our children we are talking about. Not little robots who you can use as testing data collecting machines. We will opt out even though we never opted in. Period. Our kids are special, unique individuals who cannot be judged, graded and categorized by tests, tests, tests....remember every student can be successful and we don't need hoards of unnecessary testing to prove it.