Dear Mr. Hood,
I am against the current testing culture in American education. From my own education, I recall few tests and never worried about a test until the SAT. I had pride in my abilities and education, so I did my best on tests, but never felt they had consequences for me personally, my teachers, or my school. If the testing climate was still like this, I would not feel the need to refuse testing for my child. But, the climate has changed. Accountability reigns and testing is the measure.
Below are my reasons for refusing testing for my child, who would otherwise likely face her first computerized, corporation manufactured, standardized test before turning five years old.
- I trust teachers. Education was my child's teacher's
calling, and thus she sought training through her degrees, peers,
administrators, and professional development. She spends hours each
week with my child. My child's teacher will always be a better judge
of my child, both academically and as a whole person, than any test
score. I trust a person I can have a conversation with far more than
a corporation selling a product.
- I trust administrators. Administrators were once
classroom teachers. They evaluate our local teachers' performances
better through utilizing their experiences and education than
reading a print out of test scores.
- Our money for education should be invested locally on
personnel, facilities, and other programs and resources. Tests cost
millions of dollars. Investing this money locally would return
miraculous outcomes. Why send our money to large corporations who
are interested in profits not our local children?
- If you want your child to grow taller, you don't simply
measure her more often. Students should be reading, writing, and
creating to learn, not to demonstrate what they have learned.
Time and resources should be spent teaching and learning. The most
meaningful assessments are seamlessly woven into daily activities by
- Children are not vessels to be filled. Education
contains a huge human component through both the students and
teachers. Standardized tests disregard this element; teaching to
such tests devalues the inherent individuality of humans.
Over-reliance on testing devalues any growth that cannot be measured
statistically with a bubble answer sheet including curiosity,
creativity, relationships, and metacognition.
- Standardized test scores represent the socioeconomic
status of the test takers. Districts already know this
information and the tests provide no solutions. Consequences for
schools that rate poorly on evaluations composed of mostly test
score data are discriminatory. The accreditation process is a
superior way to assess a school.
- Early education research states Kindergarteners should
learn through play. Only a child's naivete would equate a
standardized test with play. Kindergarten is too young for
standardized testing and thus it is inappropriate to use the testing
scores for evaluating students, teachers, or schools.