Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Child Will Not Be Labeled This Way

Test scores arrived today.  I wasn't dreading them, in fact you might say I was anxiously awaiting them.  I wanted to once and for all, put my daughter's testing experience to bed.  Last spring, she sat for her first experience with New York state's assessments.  If I have anything to say about it, I would like to say that last spring my daughter also sat for her LAST experience with New York state's assesments.

I don't write because I'm upset with her scores.  I honestly don't care about them.  I won't tell her about them, she doesn't even know they arrived in the mail.  I am upset because these scores will not be useful for her education.  They will be used to score the teachers at her school in their Annual Professional Performance Review.  Yep...my 8 year old was used.   I'm told that the scores will be used to help "guide instruction."  I'm not sure how.  We're 3 weeks into the school year, the teachers know what they will be teaching her this year (because NY state has told them what they will be teaching), and let's face it...her teachers are given mere data.  They're not given the information on what the children struggled with.  They're not given the answer sheets or work sheets to see how the students' thought process worked out their answer.

Make no mistake.  I am not against my child taking tests - IF they are appropriate for her age, IF they are useful for her teacher in instructing my daughter, and IF they cover material that has actually been taught to my daughter. (And if they weren't attached to a money trail that stretched from Albany to Washington D.C. that would be fantastic as well.)

I don't like going against the flow.  I'm not incredibly comfortable being that parent that can be seen as the trouble-maker. I honestly love my kids' schools and the district we live in, but as the parent - I have to react when something goes against what I believe to be in my kids' best interest.

Please don't worry.  Even though she tested last spring, the Princess was not stressed, anxious, or upset in any way as she participated in the 6 days required by NY state.  The discussions we have in this house regarding education reforms, high-stakes testing and Common Core do not include our youngest children for a reason.  They are too young to understand our concerns, and it's not their job to understand such things at this point in their lives.

So now what do we do?  She's been test-prepped, tested, we've waited, and we have the scores in hand.  But what do we do now? Do we store them in my daughter's memory book?  Line the birdcage? (I don't have a bird) Throw them away?  I suppose I could...but a better idea has been born.  And if you agree with me, I encourage you to do the same.

New York State believes in REAL students, not FAKE test scores. This year's test scores are invalid and provide NO useful information about student learning. Parents across New York State are coming together to mail these BOGUS test scores back to Commissioner King on Saturday, September 28th, 2013.

On the front of the envelope be sure to write “INVALID TEST SCORES ENCLOSED”.

Send it to:

Dr. John B. King, Jr
Education Commissioner
New York State Education Department
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12234

Be sure to send you test score Certified Return Receipt so that someone has to sign for it at NYSED.

Also, please consider sending your child's scores to your Board of Regents representative. In my area, this is:

Robert Bennett, Chancellor Emeritus
201 Millwood Lane
Tonawanda, NY 14150

Did your child refuse their test (like my oldest)?  You can find a copy of your school's score here, and send that back to Commissioner King instead.  

Join me in telling New York state, that enough is enough!
~C.