Monday, September 9, 2013

Will 2014 Be The Year Of "Full On Revolt" Against Standardized Testing?

I'm quoted in an AP article published yesterday about the momentum behind the opt-out movement.
Darcie Cimarusti of Highland Park, N.J., didn't like that her twin daughters would have to agonize over a standardized test as first-graders so she worked out an agreement with the principal to move them into a kindergarten class during testing time.
"My goal is that my daughters never take a standardized test," Cimarusti said. "I see less and less value in it educationally and it being used more and more to beat teachers over the head."
I am personally incensed by the NJDOE comment about any parent's decision to opt their child(ren) out of standardized testing.
Michael Yaple, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Education, said about 98 percent of New Jersey students take standardized tests.
"Keeping a child home from testing does no favor to the child or the school," he said.
Instead of subjecting my daughters to 7-8 hours of testing over the course of three days at the age of SIX I instead chose to have them read, write, sing, make art and dance with their peers in a joyous classroom setting with a fabulous teacher.  

I joined the class the first two days to ease their transition, and got to help with a classroom art project. Part of that project hangs proudly on our wall to this day. If my daughters had taken the test, what would their take away have been? I'd still be waiting for test results that would mean very little to their teachers, even less to me, and next to nothing to my girls.  

Leading up to "the test" papers came home from the teacher and the principal, mostly geared toward helping young children deal with test related anxiety. The school guidance counselor came to their class and read them stories about how to keep calm when you have to take "THE BIG TEST!"

Exactly how did I "do no favor" to my daughters? 

I spared them hours of drudgery and needless performance anxiety. I gave them three mornings where they got to be the "big kids" in the room, and the "little kids" got to learn from them about what they could expect in first grade. The teacher read aloud a paragraph one of my daughters had written and told the class it was an example of "great writing." My daughter beamed with pride from ear to ear.

I beg to differ with Mr. Yaple.  

I made exactly the right decision for my daughters.  And I'll make the same decision next year, and every year thereafter.  Most parents (and teachers!) know there is little benefit to these tests, particularly for students so young, so spokesmen like Mr. Yaple are paid to intimidate us into thinking we are harming our children if we don't submit.

Don't listen to the Michael Yaple's of the world. 

Listen to Diane Ravitch.
One of the most effective ways to throw a monkey wrench into harmful mandates is to resist. Say no. Refuse to participate. When they tell you to walk the plank into a sea of sharks, don’t do it.
In the case of high-stakes testing, a growing number of parents are keeping their children home on testing day. If enough parents opt out, the numbers for the school and for the district become invalid. The machine can’t run without the willing participation of those it harms.
Think about it.


  1. This teacher thanks you for your advocacy!

  2. This teacher and parent thanks you.

  3. So you scream for accountability, but will not participate in it. Hypocrite.

  4. I'm sorry, can you point me to where I have screamed for accountability based on test scores?