STAR testing starts soon at elementary schools throughout San Leandro and California. My daughters won’t be taking the tests (at least the oldest one won’t, the little one wants to and I’m still considering it). It’s a small protest, but I feel it’s the only one I can make in a system that favors test scores to education and test taking skills to critical thinking.
The District doesn’t have a choice about administering the tests. Their choice – the one they are not willing to make – is to stop teaching to the test and bring back a comprehensive educational curriculum. But as a parent I do have the choice to not make my children participate in this harmful exercise.
You do too. If you believe in testing, if you are happy with No Child Left Behind, by all means participate. But if you believe that social and natural sciences, civics and humanities, are as important to the elementary school curriculum as math and English (and then only those aspects of math & English kids will be tested on), then perhaps you’ll want to join me in my small, silent protest. If you believe that teachers should be empowered – and should be trusted – to put their extensive education to use and teach our children in the way they see best (of course, with the input and collaboration of their principal and colleagues), then why not join me? The scores will note give you any more information about your child than you have already if you’ve been paying attention. They will certainly not tell you anything about the school other than its demographics and how well they do at guessing what will be in the test and teaching it.
But this little protest, if it takes on, could perhaps snowball and lead to the type of education reform that is based on students learning how to learn, not how to take tests.