Standardized Testing Looming In New York State

Dated: 08/14/2014

Views: 2276

Much to my disdain, the end of the  glorious summer season is almost upon us.  Students everywhere will soon return to the classroom.  They will begin to acclimate to new teachers, have new material to learn, meet some new friends, reunite with old friends; some will embark on a journey in a new school, but there's one thing that still looms that is NOT new.......New York State Standardized testing and all the other endless testing our students are expected to once again endure.  This year, my refusal letters are already done (and very thoroughly) and will be submitted prior to the start of the school year.  My beliefs stand firm and once again, I will not have my children participate in reform-driven tests.  

By the way, in New York State, there were over 60,000 refusals and counting from last school year (I believe that was with under 50% of districts reporting!)  and the numbers are expected to grow significantly this year.  And they should.  A message needs to be sent loud and clear now more than ever that excessive testing and reform driven testing is NOT OK.  If this terrible practice doesn't stop, our students will continue to lose countless hours of valuable classroom learning time.  Teaching to the test and endless test preparation will continue, stifling teachers' abilities to teach creatively and independently...they way they should be able to.  This is not unique to New York State, and remains a nationwide issue.   There is no denying that the Common Core Standards, Race to the Top (these program names alone make my skin crawl) and a huge variety of corporate interference in our nation's education system are tied together by excessive standardized testing.
Unfortunately, these tests will continue to provide nothing of value to a student's classroom experience, nothing to aid in program and curriculum planning, nothing that will benefit the student or their teacher, not placement....nothing at all.  It is pure data collection.  It costs districts money that could be better spent elsewhere and I continue to question, "What do we get in return?"  I hope that all parents continue to become more informed and more aware of what's happening.  These standardized forms of assessment are what truly concern me the most.  They are not created by teachers, and they DO NOT identify a child's strengths or weaknesses.  Students are not test numbers, they are not testing guinea pigs, they are CHILDREN.   They are independently developing, curious, eager to learn and deserving of a free, appropriate educational experience.  Not a mandated, scripted education revolving around enormous amounts of testing.  Remember, parents are in charge of their children, not the state and not the federal government. Parents have the right to send in refusal letters on behalf of their children.  They have a right to know exactly what tests are being administered and why.  Send a clear, concise message that your children will not be subjected to this testing.  Here are two great websites to help you send a letter to  your school district.  www.united2counter.com/refusal-form  and  www.nysape.org 
Luckily, in The Clarkstown Central School District, students who refused standardized tests last year were provided with an alternate location within each respective school where they were permitted to sit and read.  In prior years, this was not the case.  At the end of this past school year, many districts, including Clarkstown, also refused to participate in any field testing.  I sincerely hope these two things remain the same come September. I'll end with my usual statement:   Please stay very aware and informed on the ever changing educational system in your state.  You are your child's best advocate and you are in charge.   As I've said many times before, let us not fail the children.  
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Suzanne D. Coyle

A lifelong Rockland County resident, I am excited to be a part of Wright Brothers Real Estate in beautiful downtown Nyack. My husband and I reside in New City, where we are raising our three daughters....

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