Letter: “If Not Now, Then When? If Not You, Then Who?”

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This quote from children’s activist Kailash Satyarthi has never been more relevant than now. I’m a parent, an avid proponent of public education and I’m tormented by the struggles experienced by our children. Questions about the Common Core Curriculum have been asked and answered. How many educators and specialists need to assert that this curriculum is developmentally inappropriate? The answer no longer matters. What does matter is the dismantling of our children’s spirit/love of learning. My daughter always loved school, but not anymore. She has stopped learning (not for her lack of effort or extra support from school and private specialists), because the content and pace at which it is presented in the curriculum is failing her.

Testing WAS used to help identify struggling students and provide appropriate services. My approach was, “test results are of no consequence, just practice test taking.” My child doesn’t even benefit on that level anymore. Imagine, 10 and feeling the pressure of standardized testing? Imagine if 50 percent of your job assessment was based on one test. Should educators teach for a test, rather than teaching so that all students learn how to learn/critically think? Test preparation skills should be useful, and not the primary focus. NYS may assert that they don’t want teachers to ‘test prep,’ but are implementing an assessment system, the better part of which consists of test results, that can result in termination. Skilled educators are powerless, and are watching their craft be reduced to a number from one to four. I then, will not provide the current system with the statistical data they seek to perpetuate this system. I am choosing to opt my child out of standardized testing.

Now is the time, and I am the person who will be a part of a broader statement to my government representatives. Their decisions about education have not provided improved outcomes. So now, I will opt my children out of standardized tests. So parents of all students, whether struggling or excelling, please ask the necessary questions. Should you choose to send the same message to our government, then write a letter to opt out. Visit www.saynototests.com to learn more.

—Marie Reid

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