Sunday, December 30, 2012
Dear Standardized Testing...
Update 2018: And yet here we are 5 years later, still overtesting our students for the sake of "accountability." Love Obama to death, but he just gave testing another name. And now ESSA, let the states decide! What did we do before standardized testing? Here's another thought. Why do we differentiate instruction, but give a standardized test?
Dear Standardized Testing,
I hate you. Yes, I know I wasn't raised that way. My Mom told me that hate was a strong word, and that I shouldn't use it. But there is no other word strong enough for the way I feel about you.
Why, you ask? You are only doing your job, you say? You hold teachers accountable? Make sure that they are doing their jobs well? Not allowing us to slack off the way those powerful teachers' unions allow us to?
I am going to say something to you that I would never say to a child or a fellow human being. You are worthless. There is no reason for you to exist. You do nothing to enhance the education of our children. In fact, all you do is damage the good we have done. You have sucked the life from teaching.
You have sucked teach out of teacher, learn out of learner, educate out of educator, and most of all joy out of joyful. The joy of watching the light come on when something clicks. The joy of hands on projects. The joy of reading for reading's sake! The joy of watching learning happen. No joy can come from filling in bubbles. Nor can it come from worksheet after worksheet of comprehension strategies. Have you ever watched students sit for hours as they struggle to complete you? Watch as they fidget, stretch, sleep, cry, vomit, from the stress you create? You have created the "teach to the test" teacher. You have driven thousands of experienced teachers out of education. You have ruined what it means to teach.
My principal wants to honor you with a pep rally. She said there's nothing we can do about the test taking, so let's get our students hyped about taking these tests. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think a pep rally is going to make students perform well. If I get them hyped, they are hyped about the pep rally, not about you. Once they sit down in front of those computers, even those who do well, do you think visions of the pep rally are floating through their minds, or how awful you are?
I know you chuckle as you read this because you have friends in high places. Friends with billions of dollars who yield you like a sword, cutting down schools, demoralizing teachers, breaking up unions. You and your friends tear down public schools,build up charter schools, and destroy neighborhood schools without a thought to those you so vehemently vow to protect, our children.You chuckle because you feel that you are safe, because after all, we are just teachers.
But you and your buddy, Education Reform, better watch your backs! Teachers are waking up to your scam! Dedicated educators, parents, and non-educators know you are a farce and are fighting against you! Diane Ravitich, Sabrina Stevens, Chris Guerrieri, Teachers Laugh, Parents And Kids Against Standarized Testing, and so many others are coming after you! They will not be silenced! We write blogs, participate in letter-writing campaigns, post on Facebook, anything we can do to get others to wake up to this sham you are perpetrating!
Be afraid Standardized Testing, be very afraid. We are coming for you.
An educator who cares