I Don’t Think You Get It

My decision to prevent my child from taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment is not about the anti-testing movement.

Now that THAT’S out of the way, let’s talk.

This particular test serves zero purpose in the education of my child. This test will not in any way inform the instruction of my child. It will be taken at the end of the school year and its results will be available well after her teacher could potentially use them to address her learning needs.

I just used truth to debunk the largest rationale for why students should take this particular assessment.

My child is already taking numerous other standardized tests, the results of which are available immediately and highly useful for informing her teacher of her needs. Could she benefit from taking fewer of those tests? Certainly. Do I have a major issue with her taking those other tests? Not really, no. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE USEFUL TO HER TEACHER IN ADDRESSING HER NEEDS.

While we’re at it, stop saying this test will help us identify students and schools that need additional resources. First, those resources rarely come, and when they do there are often so many strings attached and so little time given for real change to take place that it’s illogical at best to expect improvement. Next, we already know which students and schools need the additional resources. We also have solid research that shows how students learn and what supports they need. So why aren’t we doing that? No, let’s just test them, over and over, and be dismayed and confused as to why they aren’t doing better. Definition of insanity, anyone?

Also, let’s fire those bad teachers, over 99% of whom were rated EFFECTIVE even when using test scores, begging the question of how are they so bad. Let’s disrupt the school community and change everything up and make the kids sit through MORE days and MORE hours of mathematics and English language arts and FEWER hours of ANYTHING different, like gym and art and world languages. And let’s not even mention that the preferred schools (charters and private schools) do exactly the opposite of what traditional public schools are being forced to do, and that those are the schools our elected officials and the 1% are sending their kids to.

This testing is elitism at its finest. The haves and the have nots. Creating a classist system wherein only the economically privileged get the benefit of the best, most well-rounded, advanced, creative, well-funded, least-constrictive educational system. What is this, the 1800s?

Is my daughter a political pawn? Only because you’ve made her so.

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