A few days ago, I stopped by my children’s schools and spoke with their principals. The next day, I opted them out of PSSA standardized testing.
Why opt out of the PSSAs?
There are so many reasons I’m opting my children out, but I think education researcher Dr. Tim Slekar put it best:
“I love my child, I love my school and I love my teachers! I will not take part in this insanity anymore.”
Standardized test results are being used as a weapon, and I can no longer allow my children to be a part of this.
Educators are the backbone of a successful society. Every successful individual can credit at least one of their teachers for giving them a strong foundation.
Yet somehow in modern society—especially in today’s political climate—teachers are increasingly characterized as lazy slackers who only took the job because they’d get summers off, or because they weren’t successful enough to do something more lucrative.
As such, lawmakers have concluded that they must demand “accountability” from public schools and educators.
How ironic that these legislators, who likely learned to be accountable thanks to the efforts of their own teachers, are now wielding “accountability” as a cudgel against those same educators.
I don’t know about you, but every teacher I’ve ever had—heck, every teacher I’ve ever MET—is the polar opposite of anyone who needs accountability.
The teachers I know are, without fail, highly educated, accomplished professionals who care deeply about their students.
The teachers I know reach deeply into their own pockets to provide the supplies—and sometimes food and clothing—their own schools and their students’ families cannot.
The teachers I know expect excellence from their students, while providing a safe place for their students to learn, fail, and grow.
And yet somehow, today’s educators are rewarded by being asked to do more with less time and money. It’s like trying to teach with their hands tied behind their backs.
Hours and hours of standardized testing and test prep—thousands of dollars poured into creating, purchasing, and processing these tests. And for what?
Test results delivered months to late to do anything useful educationally. Instead, those test results are used only to provide quantifiable evidence of the failure of American public schools. And too often, those test results are used to justify spending less on music education, and more on the subjects being tested. Kids are pulled out of music and art classes to spend more time on test prep.
I, for one, have had enough. My children’s test results will no longer be used as weapons against the teachers and the schools they love.
Image credit: Flickr user emagic