Sunday, March 22, 2015

10 Reasons Why Parents *Don’t* Opt Out

10 Reasons Why Parents  *Don’t* Opt Out

1. My kids don’t stress about the test.

Then do it for the kids that DO stress. Do it for special education kids. Do it for kids for whom English is not their first language. Do it for their teachers who are being unfairly graded on how kids from different poverty levels and backgrounds perform on 6 days out of the entire year. Do it to get rid of rote test prep. Do it so authentic learning can return to the classroom all year. Do it so science, creativity, and social studies can have a real presence in the classroom.

2. You can’t opt out of life/I want them to learn how to deal with stress.

We would be lucky if test anxiety was the most stressful thing that ever will happen in a child’s life. Sadly, it’s most likely not true. They will have plenty of other opportunities to manage stress and challenges. When you opt out, you are not teaching them to back away from a challenge. You are teaching them to stand up for change and fairness.

3. We took these same tests when we were young.

These are definitely not the same tests. We took developmentally appropriate tests, the results of which were given to both parents and teachers in a timely manner, showing strengths and areas for improvement. These current test results aren’t even given until your child is no longer in their class.

4. I don’t want to negatively affect their teacher.

Did you know that even if your child scores a high 4 one year and gets slightly lower 4 the following, it will show ‘no improvement’? A high 4 is a high 4! This is not an accurate measure of students or teachers. Teachers can’t come out and say it, but if your job depended on the performance of kids on a purposely confusing test grade levels above their skill, would you want them to take the test?

5. Their school will lose funds.

There is not wording that specifically states schools will lose funds, only that Title 1 money will be reallocated. Title 1 money is usually a small amount that is generally equal to the amount spent on test materials, test prep, and subs so teachers can grade exams. Additionally, there have been school districts on Long Island that have had high refusal numbers with no consequence.

6. I don’t want them to lose services/honors courses.

Teachers will use other methods to determine need or eligibility. Kids have refused and not been denied access to any of these.

7. I want them to learn to take tests. It’s good practice for the Regents/SATs/MCATs.

Let’s completely ignore the fact that there have been zero studies that show that testing 8 year olds at an 11 year old level results in higher SAT test scores. Didn’t we all manage to successfully take exams, get into college and become successful? Was there only one opportunity for us to learn these skills, or did we build upon them as we matured?  If we’re going with that logic, should we let our kids start driving now to prepare for the driving test in 8 years?

8. I like to see how my kids are doing.

The teacher who sees them 180 days a year is able to tell you how they are doing. A test given 6 days out of the year with developmentally inappropriate material is not a good measure of what your child has learned. The results from this test aren’t received until fall of the following year, when your child is no longer in the class. The way it’s broken down and the secrecy of the test content doesn’t allow for information to be used in a constructive way in the classroom.

9. We need a tougher curriculum because we are lagging behind other countries.

No, we’re not. That information is taken from PISA scores. Other countries just use the data from their best and brightest students. USA uses all students. When adjusted for country size and poverty levels, USA ranks in the top. In fact, USA has remained in the same general area since PISA scores were recorded. Say we were falling behind. Do we really think that testing our kids at a developmentally inappropriate level will improve scores?

10. I’m Ok with all of this.

Please go to the following websites for more information

On Facebook:  Long Island Opt Out   

Connetquot Parents for Education

Sachem Community Alliance for Public Education

Lace to the Top and Stop Common Core on Long Island

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